Last Thanksgiving, Brandon Montour played his final game as a Waterloo Black Hawk. The defenseman recorded an assist on Waterloo’s lone goal during a 4-1 loss to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, adding to USHL scoring totals which already divided out to more than a point per game.
Montour has worn an array of jerseys in the last 12 months since turning in his Hawks sweater, but regardless of the team colors, location, or level of play, he has continued to stack up points.
Currently a member of the San Diego Gulls, the American Hockey League selected Montour as the AHL Rookie of the Month for November on Tuesday. He paces the Gulls in points (21) and assists (16) during their inaugural season after recording 15 points during the month of November alone. Montour also leads the league in power play points (15) and power play assists (12), and is the AHL’s top scoring defenseman.
Those facts will probably come as no surprise to Waterloo Black Hawks fans. But perhaps that’s shortchanging a remarkable accomplishment. In the best possible sense, what Montour has done should elicit surprise, or notice, or certainly acclaim.
Anything but casual indifference.
Let’s take a moment to review Montour’s remarkable hockey timeline:
-An unknown defenseman from an unheralded provincial hockey league in Ontario joins the Black Hawks.
-He has a stunning 2013/14 season with 62 points in 60 games, helping Waterloo to the Anderson Cup and Clark Cup Championship Series, while earning recognition as the USHL’s Player of the Year.
-The Anaheim Ducks select him in the second round of the NHL Draft.
-Returning to Waterloo for the first half 2014/15, he continues to help the Hawks fill the net during the first two months of the schedule.
-On to the University of Massachusetts at midseason, the roughly point-per-game scoring rate continues. Two of the three NCAA freshmen with better scoring averages last season – forwards Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin – are on the early short list for the NHL’s Calder Trophy this year.
-The Minutemen’s season ends, but Montour keeps playing and keeps scoring, contributing a goal and nine assists in 14 AHL games for the Norfolk Admirals.
-Present day…from the Midwest, to the East Coast, and now on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the Montour phenomenon continues.
Montour began November with an assist in the Gulls’ 3-2 overtime victory versus the San Antonio Rampage on the 3rd. He had another assist in a 3-2 win at San Jose against the Barracuda four days later, then broke out with a four-point night to help San Diego past the Bakersfield Condors, 6-1, on the 11th. He tallied two more assists in a 4-3 shootout loss to San Jose on November 13th, and his one-goal, one-assist effort at Grand Rapids versus the Griffins on the 20th kicked off a five-game scoring streak to end the month. Montour closed out November by assisting on the game-winning goals in back-to-back victories over the Ontario Reign.
In recognition of his achievement, Montour will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Gulls home game. It will go nicely with the honors the USHL presented to him a little more than a year ago.
Even so, he may want to leave some shelf space available. Precedent suggests Montour will have more plaques and trophies coming his way sooner rather than later.
Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite. Special thanks to Sam Kieckhefer of the San Diego Gulls.