EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips wasted little time in locking down their top pick from the 2016 bantam draft as they announced Wednesday they had signed Ethan Browne to a WHL standard player agreement.
The Sherwood Park, Alberta, native was the No. 14 overall pick in May’s draft.
Browne had expressed excitement at being selected and tweeted his eagerness to sign with the Tips and begin working toward achieving his WHL dream.
Nevertheless, the organization took no chances as it dispatched head coach Kevin Constantine to Alberta to procure Brown’s signature.
“It shows a lot from the team and how much they want me,” Browne said. “As soon as they did that I thought, ‘I’m going to be a part of this team.’ I’m pretty excited.”
Silvertips fans can breathe a sigh of relief that the deal is done. The organization has had trouble getting some of its top prospects to commit in recent years, among them the likes of Auston Matthews, Tyson Jost and Patrick Khodorenko, all of whom chose different routes.
Matthews and Jost were selected No. 1 and No. 10 respectively at last weekend’s NHL draft.
“(Browne) is the offensive player that we’ve needed for a while,” Tips head scout Bil La Forge told the Herald after the draft. “He’s a true offensive talent. He plays the game really hard. He’s a physical kid who isn’t afraid to engage a little bit. We love the fact that he can run a power play. He can be the trigger man or the setup guy, and he skates very well.”
Browne scored 39 goals with 38 assists in 36 regular-season games, and added another 10 goals and 13 assists in 10 playoff games with the Sherwood Park Flyers bantam AAA team. He was named the team’s MVP and the AMBHL’s Outstanding Forward and Most Sportsmanlike Player awards as the Flyers finished 31-3-2 in the regular season and swept their first three playoff series.
He also earned an invitation to Hockey Albert’s U16 camp to be held July 5-10 in Camrose. Browne will play for the Sherwood Park Kings midget AAA team in the upcoming season.
Then, he hopes, it will be on to Everett for the 2017-18 season.
“I’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. to go to hockey and training right after that so I have the rest of the day off,” Browne said. “I’m just working hard so I can play as a 16-year-old.”
He has yet to visit Xfinity Arena or the city of Everett, but is planning on making a mid-July visit to what will eventually be his new hometown.
The first chance Tips fans will have to see their top pick in action will be at training camp this August.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.