(Article credit to the Humboldt Broncos)
Humboldt Broncos’ graduating forward Connor Casparie has received an invitation to a professional hockey try-out.
Casparie announced that he has accepted an amateur try-out (ATO) with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL.
“We are vey excited for Connor with this opportunity he is getting. Very rarely do players get the opportunity straight from Jr. A to play professionally. This is credit to not only the player he is on the ice, but what he brings in the dressing room, and off the ice in the community,” said Head Coach and GM, Scott Barney.
Casparie’s Bronco’ career started in 2021-22 season, and he immediately introduced himself as a fan favourite, a team-player, and an imposing threat to opposition teams.
“When Connor was on the ice, everyone on the other team took notice and had to be aware. The Head Coach in Atlanta is excited to see what he can do at that level,” Barney added.
The excitement may be already brewing down south in Atlanta, but it’s been present for a long time in the Casparie household.
“Oh, it’s through the roof. It’s something I’ve worked on for my entire career, so to get the chance to go to a city like Atlanta and try out for the Gladiators is very humbling,” said Casparie.
Humbling, and clearly the Atlanta namesake is just as fine fitting for a player of Casparie’s ilk. Often patrolling the ice like a Gladiator, Casparie led the SJHL in penalty minutes both seasons as a Bronco, picking up 257 in 2021-22, and following that up with 239 this past season. His 257 in 2021-22 were the most seen in the SJHL over the last 15 years.
“My time with the Broncos over the past few seasons has transformed not only my game on the ice, but who I’ve become off the ice as well. I’ve has the best coaching staff, the best teammates and have made so many lifelong connections around this amazing community. I don’t think this opportunity would have presented itself without my time here in Humboldt. I am, and will be forever grateful to be a Humboldt Bronco,” said Casparie.
It’s a stiff jump in competition, as Barney said, making the jump from Jr. A to the professional level, but it’s one that the 21-year-old from Powell River, BC said he’s ready to relish.
“My goal is to not only crack the lineup, but to be a consistent player for the Gladiators throughout the season. I want to make an immediate impact and make the most of this opportunity. I think if I stick to my physical game and do the little things right, I hope to give myself the best chance.”
Casparie picked up 13 points in his Broncos tenure, but his impact went way beyond the scoresheet. He was a dominate physical player, a stalwart on penalty kills, and a prototypical power-forward who created room to his teammates while taking away space from the opposition. These attributes are what made him a lock for the Fan Favourite Award following both seasons at the Broncos’ Year-end Banquet.
“He’s a leader, he gave 110% all the time, and he never failed to have his teammates’ back. Every team covets those type of players, so he’ll be missed in the Broncos lineup next season, but there’s a reason why he is getting the chance in Atlanta, and were very proud of him,” said Barney.
The Atlanta Gladiators are the affiliate for the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL and used to be in the affiliate pipeline of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, which will change to the Nashville Predators for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
The Humboldt Broncos and the City of Humboldt would like to congratulate Connor and his family of this opportunity and wish him the best of luck.