Abbotsford Canucks Sign Pair For 2022-23 Season

Chad Nychuk

Abbotsford Canucks General Manager, Ryan Johnson, announced July 22, that the club signed major junior free agent defenceman Chad Nychuk to a one-year AHL contract ahead of the 2022-23 season. Nychuk joins Abbotsford from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.

Nychuk, 21, completed his overage major junior season with Brandon in 2021-22, leading the league’s defencemen with 21 goals and ranking third among WHL defencemen in points (71) while skating in 64 regular season games. He recorded five assists while skating in all six of his team’s playoff games and was named to the WHL’s East Division Second All-Star Team.

The Rossburn, Manitoba native participated in last week’s Vancouver Canucks Development Camp as an unsigned and undrafted invite. “Chad is a player we watched throughout his junior career,” said Abbotsford GM, Ryan Johnson. “After making a very good impression at development camp in Vancouver, we are excited to have him join our group in Abbotsford this season.”

The 6-1, 194-pound defenceman skated in 206 regular season games during his major junior career, all of which he played for Brandon. Nychuk is currently tied for 11th among all-time Wheat Kings defencemen in assists (108) and 13th among defencemen in goals (33) in franchise history.

Yushiroh Hirano

Abbotsford Canucks General Manager, Ryan Johnson, announced July 19, that the club signed forward Yushiroh Hirano to a one-year, two-way contract ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Hirano, 26, spent the majority of the 2021-22 season with Abbotsford, skating in 30 games for the Canucks after signing a professional try out agreement with the club on January 5. He recorded 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and 18 penalty minutes with Abbotsford before being released on April 12 to represent Japan at the 2022 IIHF Division 1 Group B World Hockey Championships in Tychy, Poland. Hirano led the tournament in goals (six) and points (10) while helping his team place second in the group standings. He originally started the season with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, recording 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) through 25 games before leaving the team to join Abbotsford.

“Yushiroh joined our group last year in a really adverse time and he helped the team in a big way”, stated Ryan Johnson. “We are happy to have him back in Abbotsford for the upcoming season.”

The 6-0, 216-pound winger played his first AHL game in 999 days when he made his Canucks debut on January 7 in Abbotsford’s 4-3 home overtime loss to Bakersfield. He scored his first career AHL goal on January 22 against Franics Marotte in the Canucks’ 5-3 home victory over San Diego, making him the first Japanese-born player to score a goal in AHL history. The goal was scored 10 seconds into the game, which made it the fastest goal to start a game in Abbotsford Canucks franchise history.

A native of Tomakomai, Japan, Hirano became the third Japanese-born player in AHL history when he made his debut for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on 4/14/19, recording an assist in the Penguins’ 5-2 home victory over Binghamton. He currently remains the only forward to play in the American Hockey League who was born in Japan.

Source: Abbotsford Canucks