One of the Pittsburgh Penguins top prospects will participate in the team’s rookie challenge, just a few months removed from being badly burned in a campfire accident.
Center Jordy Bellerive will travel to Buffalo and suit up for the Penguins in the Prospects Challenge, the Penguins announced on Wednesday.
Bellerive was one of three players from the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League who were badly burnt after a bonfire they were near exploded.
RCMP at the time said that a “substance” was placed into the fire, causing the explosion and sending all three to hospital, including one player, Ryan Vandervlis, who was placed in a medically-induced coma for four weeks. Matt Alfaro, a Hurricanes alumni, was also injured.
Bellerive was in hospital for 12 days. He began skating again with the Hurricanes earlier this month and the Penguins say he is close to 100 percent health after “extensive rehabilitation.”
“The entire Penguins’ organization is very proud of how hard Jordy has worked rehabbing himself back into game shape,” Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin said in their release. “Throughout the summer, Jordy’s recovery was always our top priority. We are all very excited to watch him return to game action with his fellow prospects this weekend in Buffalo.”
Bellerive will look to pick up where he left off with the Penguins in last year’s tournament, when he attended on an amateur tryout contract. There, he scored four goals and added three assists. His solid tournament turned into a three-year-entry-level contract with the Penguins and a training camp invite.
Bellerive, 19, wasn’t drafted.
Last season with the Hurricanes was a breakout year for Bellerive, who notched 46 goals and equaled that with 46 assists for a 92-point season, his first as captain in Lethbridge.
Bellerive received an invite to Canada’s World Junior Showcase last month but declined to keep recovering.
Bellerive will likely head back to Lethbridge for another season and will be in contention for a spot on Canada’s team at the World Junior Hockey Championships.