By RYAN MCCRACKEN on August 24, 2019.
Last season Jonathan Brinkman watched friend and Danish teammate Mads Søgaard go from a new import with the Medicine Hat Tigers to a drafted prospect of the Ottawa Senators – and now he’s hoping to capture a bit of that magic for himself.
The 18-year-old left-winger officially signed a standard player agreement with the Tigers Thursday after being drafted 33rd overall in June’s Canadian Hockey League import draft, and says he can’t wait for the shot to establish himself as a household name in the Gas City alongside his lifelong friend.
“He had so much success. He’s kind of a superstar here so I hope to get as much success as him,” said Brinkman. “I’ve known Mads since we were five years old or something. We played together for 11 years until he moved, so my relationship with him is really good. And it’s nice to know there’s somebody here that I already know who can kind of take care of me in the beginning.”
Brinkman arrived earlier this week and got his first chance to test out the ice at the Canalta Centre on Thursday morning. What’s more, he got to share the experience with Søgaard.
“It was pretty nice. I got all new gear so it was a little tough, but it was great,” said Brinkman, adding everyone he’s met so far has treated him with kindness and hospitality. “Everyone has been so nice to me â€¦ I haven’t seen so much of the city yet but it seems nice.”
Brinkman spent last season competing with his hometown Aalborg Pirates, of the Danish Metal Ligaen men’s league, where he logged a goal and five assists in 32 games. Brinkman also won bronze with Denmark at the IIHF’s Division 1A Under-18 Championship before lacing up his skates at the IIHF World Junior Championship alongside Søgaard. While his Danes were relegated, Brinkman still managed to register an assist on one of his team’s three goals over six games in the tournament.
“We have watched video of him and he has great offensive awareness,” Tigers head coach and general manager Willie Desjardins said in a release. “We look forward to helping him grow.”
While Brinkman has yet to meet the bulk of his teammates – as Søgaard, James Hamblin, Tyler Preziuso, Ryan Chyzowski, Bryan Lockner, Brett Kemp, Elijah Brown, Trevor Longo and Cole Clayton are away at the team’s annual leadership retreat and the rest of the team won’t arrive until next week – the 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward says he’s been fortunate to train alongside Tigers alumnus Kale Kessy in the meantime.
“I drove with Kale the last two days and he’s a very good guy. It was nice to be on the ice with him,” he said. “I haven’t met so many of my teammates yet, but I hope they’re great as well.”
Brinkman and the Tigers officially begin training camp on Friday at the Canalta Centre.
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