Moose Jaw’s own Bryan Thomson has taken the first step toward cracking an NHL roster.
The 21-year-old netminder signed an Amateur Tryout with the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty special to get this opportunity,” says Thomson. “That’s what we were building towards at the start of last season and now that one door closed another has opened.”
Up until last week, Thomson was living out his final season in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes before that came to an end, following his hometown team the Moose Jaw Warriors eliminating his squad in the first round of the playoffs.
“I was feeling pretty low when we lost out in the playoffs. Then to have this contract come across the table, just a couple days later I went from my lowest low to my highest high.”
It will be a big adjustment period for Thomson to go from southern Alberta, all the way down to Cedar Park Texas to join a new team, in a new league, and in new country.
“The shots are a lot harder, and the pace of the game is a lot quicker but just with time I’ll be able to develop into a pro goalie.”
The Stars are the affiliate teams for the NHL’s Dallas Stars and play in the Central Division within the AHL.
Currently, the team is sitting in third in the Western Conference with their final two regular season games coming on Saturday and Sunday against the Iowa Wild.
“Right now, it’s going to be a learning experience, and then as time goes on, stepping into a bigger role within the organization.”
Thomson played his entire WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes from 2019 to 2023, which meant a lot to him.
“For it to be in a place like Lethbridge is truly something special. I’m greatly honoured that I spent my whole time. Everyone there treated me unbelievably, and I can’t say enough good things for not only the city but the people of Lethbridge.”
Going from playing U18 AAA at Notre Dame and moving to Lethbridge was a big step in his career and he says that it molded him into the goaltender that he is today.
“I think Lethbridge has molded me as a person as well. I developed my game immensely during my time there and I owe a lot of thanks to the coaches that helped me out in Lethbridge and gave me the opportunities. And shaping me into the man and goalie that I am today.”
He appeared in 117 games for the Canes posting a record of 59-42-4-2 while collecting a 3.06 goals against average, a point 901 save percentage, and five shutouts.
He finished second all-time in victories (59) in Hurricanes history while finishing fifth all-time in games played by a goaltender (117).
Now with his time in the WHL complete he did say that there were some things that he would miss from his team and the league itself.
“Some of the things I will miss the most are my teammates, being around the rink every day with them, and going into battles with them on and off the ice. I will miss my billet family back in Lethbridge. They were a huge help in welcoming me into their family with open arms.”
This season Thomson appeared in 24 games after recovering from an off-season hip surgery. In those 24 games, he posted a 13-8-1-1 record with a 2.64 GAA and a .919 SV%, and three shutouts.
“The hip feels really good, there is no more so I’m able to battle even more.”
Thomson began his hockey career right here in Moose Jaw playing 28 games with the U15 AA Warriors in 2015-2016.
He explained that the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association helped catapult him to the WHL and now the AHL.
“Growing up with all my friends and being able to play with them in the Moose Jaw rinks was a lot of fun. Going to Warrior games, it was always my goal to play in the league and play against the team that I watched growing up. To be able to have done that and move on past it was truly unbelievable.”
The first start he had against his hometown team in Moose Jaw was on Feb. 9, 2020, in a 7-1 win. Thomson made 23 saves in the win.
His first WHL regular season win came on Dec. 29, 2018, against the Kootenay Ice (Now Winnipeg Ice) making 33 saves.
In his career in Lethbridge, Thompson walked away with the Joan Kobal Memorial Award for perseverance, dedication, and sportsmanship during the 2023 season. In his career, he was also named the co-winner of the 2022 Herman Elfring Community Relations Award.