GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Brandon Gormley experienced plenty of success, excitement and drama during the 2011-12 season, which he capped by co-leading his team to the Memorial Cup championship not too long ago.
“Winning the Memorial Cup was a great experience,” said Gormley, the talented defenseman whom the Coyotes selected with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. “To be able to have that experience and have success, those are great experiences in a hockey career, and you have to have those to eventually have success at a high level.”
After attending the Coyotes’ training camp for a week last September - and playing in his first NHL preseason game - Gormley started the 2011-12 season with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. He was traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes in early January and played a key role in that club’s run to the Memorial Cup title late last month. It was Gormley’s second trip to the prestigious four-team, round-robin tournament that pits a host team and the champions of the Canadian Hockey League's three member leagues; he also played for the Memorial Cup in 2010 with Moncton, but the Wildcats lost all three of their games.
Things went differently for Gormley this time around as he played seemingly endless minutes for host city Shawinigan, which beat London, 2-1 in OT, in the title game on May 27. Gormley ranked tied for second in tournament scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists) and he was named to the all-tournament team.
“I was a lot more comfortable in my second trip than I was the first time," Gormley said. "I was familiar with how things go, the scheduling and whatnot. But I was really happy to have that experience in 2010, even though that one didn’t end the way we wanted it to. To have success this year was just an unbelievable feeling.”
Gormley’s season also featured:
• A trip to the IIHF World Junior Championship where he notched three goals and three assists in six games for Canada, which won the bronze medal. Gormley was named to the All World Junior Championship Team and also was named the tournament's Top Defenseman.
• A lower-body injury that sidelined him for about two months in the second half of the season.
• A dangerous cut courtesy of an opponent’s skate. In the same game as the aforementioned lower-body injury, Gormley suffered a slice to his throat that narrowly missed his jugular. The wound required several stitches, which he received after being rushed to a nearby hospital.
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"It was definitely scary," Gormley said. "Fortunately it wasn’t as serious as it could’ve been and it healed up well."
Up next for Gormley is a summer of training, and a trip back to the Coyotes Prospect Development Camp in Glendale in a few weeks. Another appearance at training camp in September also is on the horizon.
“I think you grow as a player and as a person,” Gormley said. “So, those were great experiences for me this season and I’m looking forward to moving on to the next level.”
He added, “I’ve got to give myself the best chance I can (to reach the NHL). At the end of the day, the coaching staff and the GM are going to make the tough decisions, but my job is to make their decision as hard as I can, and I definitely have my sights set. What I’ve got to do now is put in the work necessary to give myself the best opportunity.”
The Coyotes' management staff will be watching Gormley closely at training camp.
"Brandon had an excellent season," Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said. "His performance on the big stage of both the World Junior tournament and Memorial Cup were valuable experiences as he begins his professional career in the fall."