May 16, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – By age 30, most Canada West hockey graduates are in Europe, have moved on to coaching or are making good use of their university degree if they haven’t met that ultimate goal of getting to the National Hockey League.
Not so for Bracken Kearns, a former captain with the University of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team (2001-05), who made his NHL with the Florida Panthers a few months after hitting the big 3-0 and now, 18 months later, has managed to crack the playoff lineup as a centre with the San Jose Sharks.
Kearns is well-traveled since his days in Calgary, where he graduated in Economics after four years with the Dinos. The Sharks are his ninth stop in eight seasons and, proving that perseverance pays, the undrafted, Vancouver-born forward suited up against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, even registering a shot on reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick during his 6:05 of ice time.
His father, Dennis, played 10 season for the Vancouver Canucks during the 1970s and early 1980s, but the younger Kearns actually grew up wanting to be a golfer despite his roots, according to Globe and Mail writer Allan Maki.
Kearns’ stats in Canada West were a little more productive than the scoreless seven games he’s played in the NHL (before Thursday), picking up 19 goals and 54 points in 87 conference games with Calgary. He was never an All-Star and did not take home any awards, but Bracken Kearns worked hard, pushed on and reached that elite level of hockey that eludes all but a few Canada West grads… in Los Angeles of all places. And so a land of rich and famous, glitz and glamour turned out to be the place where an aging veteran player made his modest playoff debut to very little fanfare in a Game of Thrones… or at least a 2-0 loss against the Kings.