Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett will definitely be sending a big thank you card to his agent, Alec Schall, for the belated wedding gift he received.
After getting married last month in Ann Arbor, Mich., Ebbett and his new bride, Maggie, were kicking back on an eastern Mediterranean cruise for their honeymoon when he received an e-mail from Schall saying: “Happy wedding gift. We got you a deal.”
Schall was referring to a one-year, one-way NHL contract with the Vancouver Canucks, who picked up Ebbett July 1, the first day of offseason free agency.
“I was in shock for the first 24 hours. My wife and I were sitting there and we couldn’t believe we were going back to Vancouver,” said Ebbett, who first met Maggie when he played in the NCAA with the University of Michigan Wolverines.
“Going back, it’s pretty exciting, especially with the season they (Canucks) had, being one game away from winning the Stanley Cup.
“They’ve got all-stars all over the roster, and that’s why they’ve had such great success. The depth they have is tremendous and I’m just looking forward to chipping in wherever I can and maybe go one game further this year.”
Ebbett, a 28-year-old centre, earned a shot with the Anaheim Ducks as an undrafted free agent, playing three games in 2007-08. He has since had stints with the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes, where he posted two goals and three assists playing limited minutes in 33 games last season.
After bouncing around the league so much to start his career, getting some stability in the form of a one-way contract was huge for Ebbett.
“That was our goal coming into July 1, trying to find some security. My wife has been doing most of the work, packing us up and moving city to city,” said Ebbett, who moved to Vernon from Calgary at age six.
“It’s nice they put the confidence in me to give me that one-way deal. I just have to be ready to return the favour and come ready in September.”
Ebbett is good friends with former Canuck and Wolverines’ grad Jeff Tambellini, who recently signed a three-year deal in the Swiss league. Before July 1, Ebbett was wondering if he might be joining him across the pond.
“I was close to going over there two weeks ago. There are some good opportunities to be had over there, but ultimately you want to be playing over here.”
At 5-foot-9, 174 pounds, Ebbett doesn’t have the muscle to play like a fourth-line grinder. Instead, he offers speed, vision and versatility. He has basically been a point-a-game player at the AHL level, recording 204 points in 210 games over four seasons.
Ebbett also showed he can produce in the NHL if given the chance, racking up 8-24-32 and a plus-8 rating in 48 games in his rookie campaign with the Ducks in 2008-09.
“I can play all three forward positions, anywhere from the second to fourth line. I’ll step in wherever they need to fill some holes and do whatever I can, and maybe get back to a few years ago in Anaheim where I was putting up some points,” said Ebbett, a former Salmon Arm SilverBack.
“It’s about getting that opportunity and taking advantage of it.”
After capping the honeymoon with a few days in Rome, the Ebbetts are back in Michigan where Andrew is already back in training mode in preparation for the coming season. He does group workouts with other pros in Michigan, including former Wolverines Kevin Porter (Colorado Avalanche), Matt Hunwick (Avalanche) and Jack Johnson (L.A. Kings).