NAIT Alumni Jordan Papirny signs contract in the AHL

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Sports

s in hockey. He spent time playing in the WHL, then went back to collegiate sports when he couldn’t clinch an NHL contract. But he’s now one step closer to the NHL; Papirny made his AHL debut on March 17th. 

Papirny started in the WHL in 2011, and the future looked very bright. He was drafted by the Brandon Wheat Kings with the 22nd pick of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft and became the first goaltender in Wheat Kings’ history to be selected in the first round. 

He debuted with the Wheat Kings in the 2012-13 season. Papirny played in three games and posted a 2.84 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage. By the following season, Papirny was Brandon’s starting goalie, playing in 46 regular season games with a 3.28 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. 

The team made it to the playoffs that year, and Papirny became one of the best goaltenders in the WHL. It started with Brandon stunning the Eastern Division Champion Regina Pats by winning four consecutive games against them. Papirny and the Wheat Kings then had to face the Edmonton Oil Kings, who were on their way to a Memorial Cup. This was also the Oil Kings’ third eastern conference title and second WHL title in three years. Despite being severely outmatched, Papirny kept the series somewhat close, despite Brandon being outshot a combined 234-129 in five games.

Papirny continued to improve in 2014-15 as well. In the 59 games he played, he posted a 2.74 goals-against average, and a .910 save percentage. He became the first Wheat Kings goalie to record 40 wins in a season since the 1976-77 season. He was also named to the WHL Eastern Second All-Star Team in the 2014-15 season. In 2015-16 Papirny posted a 2.61 goals-against average with a .910 save percentage while backstopping Brandon to a WHL championship.

Despite all these accolades, Papirny went undrafted in the NHL entry draft and could not sign a professional contract. Instead, Papirny went to the University of Calgary and immediately made an impact on the men’s hockey team. He had a 2.11 goals-against average in his first season and a .925 save percentage while being named to the USports All-Rookie Team. 

After two years at U of C, Papirny returned home to Edmonton and attended NAIT. In the 2019-20 season, Papirny led the ACAC in both save percentage and goals-against average with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Papirny was on the ACAC First All-Conference team. During COVID, Papirny debuted in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), the third best hockey league in North America, playing a game with the Florida Everblades. That did not lead to another chance to suit up for the Everblades that season, so Papirny returned to the Ooks to play in the 2021-22 season. Papirny won all 11 games he played that season, again leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage with a 1.63 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage. He led NAIT to the ACAC Championship, was once again named to the ACAC First All-Conference team and was chosen as ACAC Player of the Year. 

Papirny’s performance for NAIT helped him secure a one year deal in the AHL with the Vegas Golden Knights’ affiliate club, the Henderson Silver Knights. Papirny has spent most of the season with the Savannah Ghost Pirates, Henderson’s ECHL affiliate. In 19 games, Papirny has a 3.83 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. 

On March 17th, Papirny made his AHL debut against the Bakersfield Condors, the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate team. Papirny stopped 33 of 34 shots, but Calvin Pickard was perfect in net for the Condors, so the Silver Knights lost 1-0. 

Papirny may get the chance to suit up for more games down the stretch of this season. The Golden Knights have been relying on the pipeline of affiliate teams, as their goalies are injured. But for now, we will just have to wait and see. 

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