Kyle Burroughs has taken another step towards his ultimate dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
The 19-year-old from Langley inked a three-year entry level contract with the New York Islanders on Wednesday morning.
“It is a dream come true, really,” Burroughs said.
“I can’t put it into words right now, still trying to process it.
“(But) excited to be a part of the organization.”
Burroughs played in the Langley Minor Hockey Association before jumping to the Western Hockey League.
Burroughs has spent most of his WHL career with the Regina Pats — including serving as captain during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons — before he was traded to the Medicine Hat Tigers earlier this season. In 250 career WHL games, Burroughs has 22 goals and 98 assists.
“It is just one of those things you work all year for,” he said about signing the contract now, adding that it removes any stress he may have been feeling about his hockey future.
“It is a nice feeling to have it done. It is an awesome feeling.”
The Tigers are through to round two of the WHL playoffs where they face the Calgary Hitmen.
Last year, Burroughs joined the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, after his WHL season came to an end. He played in nine games with Bridgeport Sound.
But the team will not make the AHL playoffs this spring, so once Burroughs’ WHL season comes to an end, he will return to Langley and begin working out in preparation for trying to stick with Bridgeport Sound next season.
He spends his summers working out in Langley with Impact Hockey.
If not, he could be back in the WHL for his over-age season or perhaps play in the ECHL.
“We track a lot of different things statistically and he is one of our top guys every night,” said Medicine Hat head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston.
Clouston said Burroughs fit right in when the team acquired him back in January.
“A real character guy, likable, coachable. He has a real competitive nature and fit right in with the guys. He has been a great addition.”
Burroughs has offensive abilities but his biggest strength is his play in the defensive zone.
As for his potential in the game, Clouston believes Burroughs can excel.
“He is a hard worker and he competes every shift,” the coach said.
“It is the guys that have the drive and dedication, they keep getting better and better.”
“He competes hard but has a real even demeanor about him, plays with a lot of composure regardless of the situation around him and I think that is a great quality as well,” Clouston added.
As for any plans to splurge on something special to celebrate his first pro contract, Burroughs laughed it off.
“You have to be smart,” he said. “It is your first contract, you can’t go too wild. I just want to set myself up for the future.”