12/12/2014 2:44 PM
The Brampton Beast announced today the signing of Andy Bathgate Jr., grandson of former NHL-All Star, Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup winner Andrew James Bathgate.
Bathgate Jr. joins the Beast after breaking into the ECHL earlier this season with the Alaska Aces. The 6’2”, 215-pound forward comes from a long line of talented hockey players; His grandfather’s 17-year NHL career spent between the Rangers, Maple Leafs, Red Wings and Penguins certainly speaks for itself, as does the fact that Bathgate Sr.’s number 9 has been retired by the New York Rangers organization and now hangs from the rafters at Madison Square Gardens.
“Around the Bathgate house it was hockey all the time,” says the 23-year-old winger and native of Brampton, Ontario. “My Grandpa coached me from the age of five until I was 16, and there were always a lot of stories going around about the old days. Being from Brampton and playing minor hockey here my whole life, it means a lot to come back and play in front of the hometown fans.”
While Bathgate Jr. is returning home to Brampton, Bathgate Sr. never left. The former Hart Trophy winner still owns and operates his own driving range on Eglington Road, a ten-minute drive from the Powerade Centre where his grandson will soon be lacing up his skates for the Beast. It’s the same range where the two used to bond during long summers together, and where the younger Bathgate (then playing for Brampton’s AAA Minor Midget team) would listen attentively to the tips, tricks and stories of one of the most prolific players of his era.
“One of my biggest hockey memories was winning the Quebec tournament as a member of the Brampton Battalion,” says Bathgate Jr. “I know that there are tons of young hockey players growing up in the area, and I think having a professional team playing so close will only improve the quality of hockey here.”
Blazing a similar trail as his grandfather, Bathgate Jr. was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (151st overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The following season, he led the Bellville Bulls of the OHL in scoring with 60 points (25 goals, 25 assists) in 64 games, enough to earn him a call-up to the AHL for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
"We are pleased to welcome Andy to the Brampton Beast lineup,” says General Manager Cary Kaplan. “At both the OHL level in Belleville and at the University of Guelph, he has demonstrated leadership and competitiveness, required traits in Brampton. And being the namesake and grandson of one of the greatest forwards in NHL history is something that did not go unnoticed.”
After posting career-high numbers in assists (44) and points (63) during his overage year in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers, Bathgate led the University of Guelph in scoring in 2012-2013 with 16 goals and 32 points in just 23 games, and was named to the CIS (OUA West) All-Rookie team as well as the CIS (OUA West) Rookie of the Year. The young forward spent last season playing professionally in Europe, splitting time between the Herentals HYC of the Netherlands Premier League and Königsborner JEC in Germany, where he racked up a total of 16 goals and 56 points in 31 games.
The newest addition to the Brampton squad is expected to make his Beast debut tonight, Friday December 12 when the Beast take on the Tulsa Oilers at 8:35 PM EST.