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Prospect Update: Spencer Bennett

by Kristi Hennessy / Calgary Flames

GET TO KNOW....
SPENCER BENNETT

Q: Who is your favourite NHL player?
A: Markus Naslund or Todd Bertuzzi. I was a Canucks fan growing up. Now that I'm older, I like power forwards like Ryan Getzlaf or Rick Nash.
Q: Do you have any game day rituals or superstitions?
A: I've never been a superstitious guy. Never had to put one shinpad on before the other! I'm better if I mix it up every game.
Q: Favourite WHL rink to play in?
A: Pacific Coliseum at home in Vancouver. The old rink atmosphere with good crowds.
Q: What is on your iPod right now?
A: I'm a huge country fan. On the bus right now we listen to Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw...just a lot of country.
Q: Spencer Bennett as a player.
A: I was an energy guy on Portland- get out there and create energy on the third line. But here in Vancouver, I play more of a points role. I'd like to think I'm a solid two-way forward.

Calgary Flames prospect Spencer Bennett, has worn a Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League jersey for the last 18 games of the 2010-11 season. He was traded from the Portland Winterhawks 37 games into the season.

He will finish his WHL career close to where it all began.

Bennett, 20, is from White Rock, a small city just 40 minutes south of Vancouver. He played his entire minor hockey there for the Semiahmoo minor hockey association with the exception of one year at the South Delta Hockey Academy.

"There were obviously mixed emotions getting traded at the start but I got here and got comfortable really fast," he said. "I've been doing well personally and the team's been doing well so it's been good."

Comfortable is an under-statement. Bennett has racked up 33 points (15g, 18a) in the 19 games he's played, posting a plus minus of +10.

"The coaching staff has given me the opportunity and I've sort of ran with it and it's been working so far," he said.

"I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates, Brendan Gallagher and Brendan Rowinski are two amazing players. I wouldn't have half the points without those guys so obviously they are a big help."

Giants head Coach, Don Hay, is very pleased with how quickly Bennett has adjusted with the Giants.

"He's been really good for us," said Hay. "Since January 1st, he's been one of the hottest players in the league. He's come over from Portland and been put in a different situation. Obviously he was behind some very talented players in Portland.

"He works very hard, skates well and has just fit in very well with Brendan Rowinski and Brendan Gallagher on our top line. He kills penalties, plays on the power play, and has a strong net-front presence on the power play," Hay continued.

"I think that he is really getting an opportunity to make a difference. He's accepting a challenge. He's been a really good leader for us."

Bennett says the coaching style from Portland to Vancouver is fairly similar in that both coaches have very high expectations of their players.

"Both Mike Johnson [Head coach of the Portland Winterhawks] and Hay, are ex-NHL coaches so they both have that professional attitude about them. Don is a little more adamant about what he expects. If you do something wrong, he's going to let you know but it only makes you better.

"They are both amazing coaches and I've been lucky to have played for both of them. Mike to start and Don with his record in the Western Hockey League, it's just incredible to be able to play for him."

Since being moved to Vancouver, Bennett has settled in and is enjoying being close to friends and family.

"It's pretty cool," he said. "A couple more people from home at the rink every night that you get to play for so it's pretty fun. My parents and friends are at most games as well as my sister when she gets a chance."

Bennett spends his summers at home in White Rock but doesn't have to wait until summer to make it home for dinner. Both the Giants' practice facility and his billet home are in Ladner- just a 15-20 minute drive away.

"I get home for dinner a couple times, which my mom is pretty happy about. It's worked out well for my family and me. It's pretty unbelievable to be playing for Vancouver now.""

Bennett was acquired by the Calgary Flames on June 27, 2009 in the 5th round, 141st overall. He was drafted from the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League.

"We used to practice at South Surrey arena growing up," he said. Playing on the Olympic sized rink was pretty cool."

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound winger is on-route to graduating from the WHL with an AHL contract. Playing with the Flames top affiliate Abbotsford Heat of the AHL would be just a stone's throw away.

For Bennett, being drafted by a Canadian team like the Calgary Flames, is a dream come true. He says he’s just taking it all in as it comes in hopes that he will one day don a red sweater.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I think any kid that gets drafted would love to come to a hockey atmosphere like Calgary. Here they are crazy hockey fans. The atmosphere for games and around the town is pretty cool. I haven't been here much during hockey season but I assume it's like Vancouver.

"The Flames are such a quality organization with quality people."

 

 

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