Kyle Bonis, of Ops Township, already has several professional games under his belt with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, after signing a contract for the rest of the season late last week.
By: Lance Anderson
(OPS TWP.) Ops Township native Kyle Bonis is moving forward with his dream of playing in the NHL after signing with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
The 24-year-old had finished his hockey season with Ferris State University just 12 days before he got the call March 27 afternoon that the Anaheim Ducks' farm team wanted to sign him. He was hanging out with his buddies in Big Rapids, Michigan as his final year of university drew to a close, when he got the call.
"It was nice to have them there with me to share that moment," he says.
"I think they were more excited than me, I was just kind of stunned," he told This Week.
He certainly didn't have much time to wrap his head around the news, as he was on a plane to Virginia the next day and laced up to play his first professional game Friday, having signed his contract just two days after the initial phone call.
"It's been a crazy couple of days," he says.
"But I wouldn't change how things happened for anything."
Although Mr. Bonis says it was all a little surreal when he stepped onto the ice for the first time, he quickly adjusted and focused on the task at hand, knowing Norfolk is in a playoff run. And sure enough, in the first period of his very first game, he assisted a goal.
"That's something I'll never forget," he says, quickly adding that while he is pleased with his strong start, he doesn't want to get ahead of himself.
"There's still a lot of growth that needs to happen in my game."
He adds that his new teammates, some of whom already have NHL contracts, were very welcoming, making the initial transition easier.
"They're not just good hockey players, they are good people."
Mr. Bonis says the biggest part of his game he is looking to improve on is his "poise with the puck," noting that he finds himself trying to do 30 good plays at the same time every time he gets the puck, instead of focusing on one play at a time.
The LCVI graduate played for the Central Ontario Wolves, then spent three years in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, followed by two years with the Traverse City North Stars in the North American Hockey League, before attending school and playing hockey with Ferris.
During his four years in Michigan, Mr. Bonis put more points on the board year after year, helping his team win their first ever regional championship and finishing second at the NCAA Hockey Championships in the 2011/2012 season and serving as captain and scoring 19 goals and eight assists in the 2012/2013 season.
Over the summer, and this past university hockey season, he has worked hard on his skating and puck handling skills and is looking to keep that momentum going.
"Now I'm just trying to convert those to success in my professional game."
Mr. Bonis says he is trying to finish his schooling via email, adding that his teachers at Ferris have been very supportive in helping him complete his courses for his degree majoring in business and minoring in small business and entrepreneurship.
His current contract with the Admirals is until the end of the season, at which point he will have the opportunity to resign with them or another team.
"I'm just trying to play well and earn myself a contract - an NHL deal."