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Trade homecoming of sorts for former Hitmen standout

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers /

Michael Stone is coming home.

Kind of.

The Winnipeg native was acquired the by the Flames in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, returning the now-26-year-old to Scotiabank Saddledome where he enjoyed four seasons as a member of the Western Hockey League's Hitmen.

"It's funny, but it's certainly nice to see," said Mike Moore, president and general manager of the Hitmen. "Michael was a great player for the Hitmen and helped us get to the Memorial Cup in Brandon.

"It's good to see he landed back in Calgary."

In four seasons with Calgary's junior club, Stone amassed 181 points in 264 games.

He had a personal-best 21 goals and 65 points in 69 games in his final season with the Hitmen, culminating with helping the group to the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, and a berth in the 2010 Memorial Cup.

He graduated to the pro ranks the following fall, joining the Coyotes' organization at the American Hockey League level.

He became a permanent fixture in Arizona just two seasons after departing the Hitmen, and through 324 NHL games, Stone has 24 goals and 96 points to accompany 190 minutes in penalties.

His impact wasn't limited to on-ice contributions.

Stone twice won the Coyotes' Man of the Year, awarded for "his dedication, commitment and passion for bettering the lives of those in the community," according to the Arizona's website, in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

That's not a surprise to Moore.

"He's a quality guy who worked hard," he said. "He always took the time when he was in with the Coyotes he'd come by the dressing room and coach's room to say hello.

"He's just a quality, character guy.

"I'm sure he'll be a great addition for the Flames." 

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