Pirri signs with Blackhawks (Updates with Appert quote)
RPI forward Brandon Pirri is heading to pro hockey. Pirri signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
"Brandon signed for the maximum signing bonus, and the maximum compensation salary that he could receive, having been drafted in the 2009 entry draft," said Anton Thun, Pirri's agent.
Naturally, Pirri is excited.
"It's a dream come true, ever since I was a little kid," Pirri said. "I get to do something I would do for free, but I get paid to do it now."
If Pirri doesn't make the Blackhawks, there will be only one place he will play.
"He will either be playing in the NHL, or the American Hockey League next year," Thun said. "He will not be playing in the Ontario Hockey League."
Rockford is the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate. Saginaw holds Pirri's OHL rights.
The 19-year-old Pirri was second on the team in scoring with 11 goals and 32 assists, and also had a team-high 67 penalty minutes. He was top rookie scorer in ECACH play with five goals and 22 assists.
Pirri is the second RPI player to give up his final three years of college eligibility to turn pro. Jerry D'Amigo signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs Aug. 11.
Just as he was with D'Amigo, RPI coach Seth Appert is happy for Pirri. Appert believes their departure won't be devastating to the team.
"At the end of the day, you win with your seniors," Appert said. "That's what college hockey is all about. It's about you senior class. I'm excited about the seniors that we have. We have eight coming back, and I like them for different reasons. I know from experience that the teams I've played on and coached that have won at their highest levels, won with seniors and not with talented, young players."