On July 22nd, Abbotsford Canucks General Manager, Ryan Johnson, announced that the club had signed major junior free agent defenceman Chad Nychuk to a one-year AHL contract ahead of the 2022-23 season. Nychuk joins Abbotsford from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.

“Chad is a player we watched throughout his junior career,” said Abbotsford GM, Ryan Johnson. “After making a very good impression at development camp in Vancouver, we are excited to have him join our group in Abbotsford this season.”

We sat down with Nychuk to talk to the newly signed blue liner.

Talk to us about your time in the WHL with Brandon.

Obviously it was a really fun four years, I’m sort of a hometown kid when I went in as a young guy. I made a lot of really good friends really quickly and I have nothing but thank you’s for the coaches, management and staff. I’ll always be grateful for that.

What excites you about playing in the AHL with Abbotsford?

I think just taking that next step. Obviously, being a hockey player, that’s one of the things you look forward to the most. As for Abbotsford, obviously I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and I’m really excited.

Last month was the first time we saw you in Canuck colours, tell us about your Development Camp experience back in July.

It was really fun, I met a lot of really good guys. You kind of get to know the WHL guys that you’ve been playing against for the last few years, then as the week went on I started to get to know the college and European guys. That was the big thing that I took out of it. As for the hockey side, there were a lot of good players there and I feel like it was a good week.

How would you describe your playing style?

I think that I have just turned myself into a two-way defenceman. For the first few years, I thought of myself as an offensive defenseman. But I learned pretty quick that in order to make it to the next level, I had to be able to take care of both ends. The last few years I have mainly been focusing on that and hopefully I can keep that moving forward.

What do you like to get up to in the off-season?

Right now in the summer I have just been training in Brandon, Manitoba. My cabin is about an hour and a half north of Brandon, so I like to go there with my family on the weekends. But during the week, just skating, working out, the usual stuff. Lots of golf as well.

Talk to us about your nickname “The Rossburn Rifle”.

I was just sitting at the rink one day when our media guy came up to me and told me he was going to use that nickname. He thought it was just going to be a little joke or whatever , but it turned into a pretty good thing. A lot of my buddies started wearing t-shirts and started to send me pictures of them. Some of the proceeds went to the (Brandon) Wheat Kings, and the rest I was able to donate to some stuff around Rossburn. Things like buying local kids hockey equipment and some work on the local reserve. It was a really good fundraiser.

Tell us more about your hometown Rossburn and growing up there.

I owe a lot of it to Rossburn. As I get older, I can’t really skate at the rink there because it’s winter ice, it’s not in during the summer. So I had to make the move to Brandon. But I’ve had nothing but support from Rossburn, all of the support I get is so surreal and I’m very grateful for it. I owe a lot to Rossburn.

Can you tell us a fun fact or a hidden talent about yourself?

I play a few sports, I like to play every sport that I can. I used to be pretty good at ping pong, but I’ve gotten away from it a little bit recently. Hopefully I can maybe get back to that, so I would say ping pong.