Soon enough, the Pittsburgh Penguins might have another great centerman on their NHL roster.
If there is one team synonymous with great Centers in the NHL, it is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since 1984, the Penguins have had a combination of Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It would be inconceivable to think that they may have another great center on the horizon. Yet, many fans who follow the Penguins prospect pool, know that Jordy Bellerive may just be the next big thing.
Currently playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Letheridge Hurricane, Bellerive has spent most of his career battling adversity. He went un-drafted in 2017, and only received one invite for NHL rookie camps, from the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was in that camp that he showed his passion, dedication, and skill, which led to him receiving an Entry Level Contract. That would be a significant ending to most fairy tale stories, but that is just the beginning of this book.
This past June, following the Canes elimination from the WHL playoffs, Bellerive and a few teammates were attending a family party for a teammate. As the party wound down, there was an explosion at the bonfire and three of the players were severely burned, including Bellerive. He suffered severe burns to both of his hands, while one of the other players was labeled as “Critical” condition. Many of the attending physicians claimed it will be well over a year before Bellerive would regain full motion in his hands, but a mere three weeks later, he was on the ice taking drills. He worked diligently to be able to attend the Penguins prospect camp and play in the rookie tournament against the Devils, Bruins and Sabres rookies.
While he did not make the opening night roster for the Penguins, due to backlog of talent at the Center position currently on the NHL roster, he returned to Letheridge and continued where he left off last season. He scored a goal and had six shots on goal in a 5-2 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers. All of this after taking a very emotional ceremonial face-off from Ryan Vandervlis, the severely injured player in the bonfire incident. He has continued to produce at over a point per game with 9 goals and 15 assists in 20 games.
After overcoming all of that adversity, wouldn’t it be fitting for him to be the next great Penguins Center.
stats from hockeydb.com
research from Wikipedia.com