Beau Bennett: Poised for the Pros
By: Lauren D'Antonio
Every hockey player dreams about making the NHL. They spend thousands of hours practicing while making great sacrifices to reach the pinnacle of the professional ranks. For Gardenia, California native Beau Bennett, that dream may not be too far out of reach.
Standing 6-foot-1 and weighting 209lbs, forward Beau Bennett has worked hard to transform himself into a sizable opponent. Drafted 20th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bennett joined the collegiate ranks that fall with the University of Denver.
Bennett enjoyed a solid start to his freshman season, posting 10 points (3g-7a) in his first 17 games before sustaining a right knee injury that kept him out of the line-up for six weeks. The timing of the injury was somewhat fortuitous as – coinciding with the holiday break – Bennett only missed five games. Upon his return, he picked up right where he left off, registering 15 points in his final 20 contests to finish the season with nine goals and 16 assists.
Injuries struck Bennett again during his sophomore year as well, suffeting a severe wrist injury in October that limited him to only 10 games with the Pioneers. He still managed to tally 13 points (4g-9a), but was unable to continue through the pain and underwent surgery in December to repair the damage. Despite playing for just two seasons at Denver and the serious injuries that abbreviated his time on the ice, Beau Bennett decided he was ready to make the move to the pros. He signed a three-year entry level contract this April with the Penguins.
“Even though I didn’t play many of the games, because of the injury,” Bennett explained. “I felt like I got better just watching the game and being in the gym more, so I was like at a point where I felt confident enough to leave and it was the right decision at the time and I’m sticking to it.”
With Pittsburgh’s depth chart at forward more open than it has been in years and several good young wingers in the pipeline, it wouldn’t be farfetched to see Bennett perhaps spend some time in the NHL in the not-too-distant future. Bennett welcomes this idea, but he doesn’t want to play in Pittsburgh ill-prepared.
To that end, Bennett has been working harder than he ever has before to prepare himself for the pros this year.
“My workout schedule was a lot harder this summer. I had 6am workouts every morning, so I was doing a lot more than I have the other summers before this, and I feel a lot better coming in the year than previous years, and just really can’t wait to be on the ice and play some games.”
Though he hopes that his efforts off the ice this past summer pay dividends once training camp begins, Bennett is aware that there is still some road to be traveled to make it to the NHL some day.
“I would love the opportunity to play up a little bit and get my feet wet and hopefully make an impact, but definitely don’t want to go up before I’m ready and get floored by the whole atmosphere,” Bennett said. “I want to just take it for what it is and learn as best as I can from those guys and not get overly excited and just play [my] game, because that’s hockey, that’s the way you play it.”
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