BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – The Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the St. John’s IceCaps and Montreal Canadiens, announce today that Toronto native and exciting two-way defenseman Justin Baker has signed with the Beast for the upcoming 2016-17 ECHL season.
Baker, 25, joins the Beast following a season split between the ECHL’s Kelly Cup champion Allen Americans and Slovakia’s HK Nitra.
The 6’2” defenseman started the season with the Americans and put up impressive offensive numbers, including two goals and eight assists for 10 points in only 17 games played. He joined HK Nitra at the end of the 2015-16 season and notched two goals and two assists in seven regular season contests and added another goal and two assists in 17 playoff games, helping lead his squad to the Slovakian Extraliga championship.
A self-described puck-moving, smooth-skating defenseman, Baker hit his stride in the professional ranks during the 2014-15 season with the Americans. Not only did he assemble impressive offensive numbers, including 10 goals and 29 assists in 70 games played, his strong two-way play earned him a place on the ECHL’s All-Rookie Team.
His strong play continued into the 2014-15 ECHL playoffs, where he added another three goals and 10 assists in 25 postseason contests, en route to his first Kelly Cup championship.
Before jumping head first into professional hockey, Baker honed his craft in the NCAA with St. Lawrence University from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
Playing in the tough ECAC conference, Baker logged big minutes and put up eye-opening numbers. In 143 career NCAA games, the righty scored 19 goals and collected 63 assists for 82 points, to accompany his 105 penalty minutes.
He proved his worth as a leader in his final season of college hockey in 2013-14, serving as the team’s assistant captain. In 38 games, he caught fire, scoring nine goals and adding 24 assists for 33 points.
Considered one of North America’s premiere offensive defensemen, Baker is excited to head home to Ontario to suit up for the Beast.
“Last year was a bit of an adventure for me,” Baker said. “But the more I thought about it, the more I started feeling like I wanted to play for Brampton. I want to give it another shot to try and move up the ranks here in North America and along the way, I want to do what I can to help make this team the best team they can be this year.”
Beast Head Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Chaulk knows that Baker’s pedigree makes him a hot commodity in the ECHL and believes that he will be an important piece in helping the team win moving forward.
“Justin is a dynamic puck-moving defenseman,” Chaulk said. “Most of the league was after him. He was an All-Rookie defenseman and a Kelly Cup champion. We are extremely excited to have Justin in a Beast uniform.”
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The Brampton Beast will be bringing their exciting brand of ECHL hockey back to the Powerade Centre this fall. Don’t miss a minute of the action! 2016-17 Memberships are now available, starting at $34.78 plus HST per month.
For more information or general media inquiries on the Brampton Beast, please contact Chris Ballard, Public Relations Coordinator at (905) 564-1684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.