Phil Ginand is healthy enough to play hockey again – just not for the Mercyhurst College men’s team.
Ginand has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Bridgeport (Conn.) Sound Tigers, the AHL club announced Tuesday, and could make his debut Wednesday night against the Albany (N.Y.) Devils.
Three weeks ago, he suffered what Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin calls a season-ending concussion. He had no plans to have Ginand in the lineup for the rest of the season, Gotkin said.
“He wasn’t (medically) cleared (by) any of our people,” Gotkin said.
Ginand spoke with Gotkin late Monday night about signing with Bridgeport. Gotkin said he believes not being cleared to play for Mercyhurst played a role in Ginand’s decision.
“He told me he was feeling great and wanted to get back to playing hockey,” said Gotkin, who became aware of Ginand’s interest in pursuing a professional career two weeks ago. “I’m assuming he’s fine.”
Ginand, 22, a redshirt sophomore forward who missed all but two games last season while recovering from knee surgery, forgoes his final two years of eligibility. The Milford, Mass., native had 27 goals and 54 points in 68 career games, including 12 goals and 20 points in 27 games this season.
In January, then-senior forward Brandon Coccimiglio left school to join the ECHL’s Greenville (S.C.) Road Warriors. He now plays for the Central Hockey League’s Missouri Mavericks after brief ECHL stints with Greenville and Alaska. He has one goal and four points in 20 career games.
“At the end of the day, Phil wanted to be a professional hockey player, and I think he will be a good one,” Gotkin said of Ginand, who attended a Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp last summer.
Gotkin has lost four key forwards from his team this season – Ginand, Coccimiglio, Steve Cameron and Kyle Just. Cameron suffered what Gotkin said could be a season-ending, lower-body injury three weeks ago. Just and then-fellow freshman Jordan Tibbett left school in November after being charged with sexually assaulting a woman in a campus apartment Nov. 14.
“The guys we have (are) very resilient,” Gotkin said. “We’re trying to find a way to keep on winning.”
The Lakers face Connecticut this weekend in the Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinals.
- Victor Fernandes