Every hockey player’s goal is to play in the NHL, even those who do not play professionally. But those like Brandon Pirri, who suited up with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves 86 times since the start of the 2017-18 season, are especially eager to get a shot in the world’s best league.
Pirri has registered 10 goals and 15 points through 20 games thus far with the Vegas Golden Knights, since he was recalled from the Wolves in mid-December.
But while Pirri would obviously prefer to be wearing the newly famous gold and black uniforms that feature a knight’s shining armor as its crest, that doesn’t mean his time playing in the AHL for Chicago wasn’t a cherished experience for the 27-year old Toronto, Ontario native.
In fact, if Pirri’s game hadn’t developed as much as it did on “the farm,” he would still be riding buses and eating fast food in lieu of traveling on a private jet and staying in five-star hotels.
And while his Wolves teammates and coaches would love to have him in their lineup like they’ve grown accustomed to during the past couple of seasons, they’re equally pleased to see that he’s being rewarded for his hard work and perseverance.
“I think everyone in this locker room is happy about the success he’s having right now with Vegas,” said Wolves forward Reid Duke.
“He’s been a big part of this team for a while, and he’s very deserving of the opportunity he’s getting from the Golden Knights right now. I’m not surprised that he’s scoring key goals up there,” echoed Stefan Matteau.
Not only has Pirri scored some important goals since his call up, Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson said he’s been impressed with his 200-foot game, and his ability to respond as well.
“He had a little bit of a drought there, but I thought he’s responded really well in the last couple of games. He’s played some really good games, and he’s helped Vegas particularly in their last game get back in the win column. He’s a big piece of their puzzle now,” Chicago’s coach said.
“I watch every game that Vegas plays, and we’re very happy for Brandon. We’re very proud of him too, because he was here for quite a while with us. And to see one of your players that you’ve grown close with have success is special. He’s got a great family, and he’s got a little boy here, who I think might even be with him over in Vegas,” Thompson added.
Whether or not Pirri can sustain this level of success indefinitely with the Golden Knights is still an unknown, but those in the Wolves organization hope his next visit to Chicago is for a game against the Blackhawks.