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FUTURE WATCH | Behind the blue line with Bear

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Ethan Bear, defenceman for the Seattle Thunderbirds. Photo by Marissa Baecker

Every defenceman should know what they are and what is needed of them on the ice.

That is just one of the principles set out on a sheet of good habits that Ethan Bear, defenceman for the Seattle Thunderbirds, reads before he steps onto the rink.

“I read them before every practice, so I can practice them and (implement) them into my game,” said Bear.

“It just reminds me of what I need to do properly so I can (execute) them during a game.”

It’s a list — a set of guidelines — that was provided to Bear from the Oilers, but to Bear, it’s so much more than a piece of paper.

“It’s good habits for a d-man, what he should do all around the ice, it’s very important,” said Bear.

It’s a simple-minded task that some players may not give a second thought to, but it’s one that Bear believes will help him in the long run.

“It was provided to me by the Oilers. It’s something I looked over with my coach here and it’s all good stuff and I’ve used that to my advantage.”

It was a feeling like no other when Bear was drafted to Edmonton this summer.

“It’s special just to be drafted in general, but to be drafted to a Canadian team, which is a little bit closer to home, it’s a good feeling, especially growing up watching the Oilers…it’s really special,” he said.

Selected 124th overall, Bear was in a state of euphoria when he heard his name called out in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

“It was more like shock. It was almost as if I blanked out, I don’t remember everything that I did, I just remember hugging my family and seeing my parents, the happiness in their eyes and them all smiling and cheering was pretty awesome.”

Paul Bitner, Ethan Bear and David Kase at the NHL Combine. Photo by Bill Wippert.

The 5-foot-11 blue liner took part in the Oilers Training Camp this past summer and said he welcomed the challenging atmosphere, as it encouraged him to work harder.

“It was a little bit tough, but it was a great experience that’s for sure,” said Bear.

“To get to watch the big guys, the big guns, and see how they operate, how they take care of themselves, the way they are at the rink and while they’re on the ice, it’s just pretty amazing for myself to see and just gives me an eye opening of how much better I need to be.”

Heralding from Ochapowace, Sask., the 18-year-old has gained considerable experience in different playing environments, having joined Team Canada for the 2015 IIHF U18 World Championship in Switzerland this past spring and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup U18 in August.

“It was very special. I’ve always wanted to play for that team — I guess any Team Canada team as you get to represent your country — it’s a great feeling. It was a lot of fun,” said Bear.

“(The World Championships) was a little bit different, it was a little bit harder I’d say. I also had some family come over and support me, so every time I played I’d get to see them after and they’d tell me about family back home, so it was a good time.”

The 2014-15 season saw Bear play in 69 regular season games with the Thunderbirds, scoring 13 goals and registering 25 assists for 38 points with 23 penalty minutes.

“I’d say I’m a two-way puck moving defenceman, I can shoot, I can skate, I position myself well,” he said.

But the defenceman is also focused on improving some of his playing style this year.

“Mainly for me it’s speed and strength,” said Bear.

“And while I’m doing that I guess I’d say body positioning (on the ice) for myself. As a d-man I want to be able to just angle guys into the wall or into the corner, direct them where I want to go, and I want to have a good stick so I can defend my net and my zone.”

Bear tries to block a shot against the Kelowna Rockets. Photo by Marissa Baecker.

The International Scouting Service described Bear as a player who has “a strong defensive and physical game. Strong in front of the net and along the boards, he doesn’t run around in the defensive zone and has good positioning.”

In 11 games this season with the T-birds, Bear has already scored three goals and added nine assists for a total of 12 points.

“We’re off to a good start in the season and the team’s playing well. I think we’re going to be a solid team and I’m very excited for that,” said Bear.

“We have a very skilled team. We actually have a lot of grid as well. We have a little bit of everything that can win, so for us it’s all about buying into a system, we have a lot of great players here. A lot of guys that got drafted and a lot of guys that have the potential to be drafted, so I think we’re going to have a really solid team and for us moving forward.”

Statistics For In The System Through Past Seasons: 14-15 | 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12
Stats Updated as of Wednesday, October 28 2015

Bakersfield (AHL) - Forwards


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
BRADEN CHRISTOFFER LW 21 6 0 1 1 -3 0
LEON DRAISAITL C 20 6 1 1 2 -5 4
MATTHEW FORD*   RW 31 6 3 2 5 -4 6
RYAN HAMILTON   LW 30 5 2 0 2 -3 2
KALE KESSY   LW 22 4 1 0 1 1 12
JUJHAR KHAIRA   LW 21 6 1 2 3 0 0
ANDREW MILLER   RW/C 27 6 2 3 5 +3 6
MITCH MOROZ   LW 21 6 1 1 2 -2 20
PHILIP MCCRAE* C 23 6 2 0 2 -1 2
IIRO PAKARINEN   RW 24 4 1 2 3 0 4
TYLER PITLICK   RW 23 2 0 0 0 0 0
KYLE PLATZER RW 20 6 0 2 2 0 0
JOSH WINQUIST   LW 22 3 1 1 2 +1 14
BOGDAN YAKIMOV   C/W 21 6 1 1 2 -3 4
DANIIL ZHARKOV (INJURED)
LW 21 - - - - - -
Bakersfield (AHL) - Defencemen


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
MARTIN GERNAT   d 23 1 0 0 0 -2 0
brad hunt   D 27 6 0 7 7 -3 4
JOEY LALEGGIA   D 23 6 0 1 1 +2 10
DAVID MUSIL D 22 6 0 0 0 +1 4
NIKITA NIKITIN   D 29 1 0 1 1 0 0
DARNELL NURSE   D 20 6 0 1 1 0 7
JORDAN OESTERLE   d 23 6 0 1 1 -2 4
NICK PAGEAU   D 27 4 0 0 0 -4 0
DILLON SIMPSON (INJURED) D 22 - - - - - -
Norfolk (ECHL)


Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER D 21 5 0 1 1 -5 0
GREG CHASE F 20 5 3 1 4 -2 12
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CALEB JONES  D 18 11 2 3 5 +3 13 PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (WHL)
ETHAN BEAR  D 18 11 3 9 12   +7 8 SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS (WHL)
NCAA & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   LW 21 4 1 3 4 +1 4 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
D 19 4 0 1 1 +3 2 UMASS-AMHERST (NCAA)
JOHN MARINO d 18 9 1 6 7 +4 6 TRI-CITY (USHL)
AIDAN MUIR LW 20 5 1 0 1 -1 4 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL   C 21 6 0 3 3 +2 0 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK C 24 25 6 7 13 -2 16 CHEKHOV VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN   D 25 19 1 8 9 +4 4 JOKERIT HELSINKI (FINLAND)
ZIYAT PAIGIN  F 20 2 0 1 1 -1 0 KAZAN AK-BARS (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN  F 26 11 5 1 6 +1 24 ILVES TAMPERE (finland)
2016 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CHECK BACK DURING THE TOURNAMENT                 
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
KEVEN BOUCHARD   19 8 2 5 0 5.12 .831 baie-comeau (qmjHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 22 4 2 1 1 2.45 .926 bakersfield (AHL)
EETU LAURIKAINEN 22 1 0 1 0 4.02 .818 BAKERSFIELD (aHL)
ZACH NAGELVOORT   21 2 2 0 0 2.00 .905 michigan (ncaa)
BEN SCRIVENS   29 1 0 1 0 5.03 .848 bakersfield (ahl)
MIROSLAV SVOBODA   20 1 0 1 0 6.00 .750 TRINEC OCELARI (CZECH)
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