WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Graduating hockey Axeman Matt Pufahl will extend his hockey career with the Colorado Eagles this coming season. The Eagles will take over as the NHL's Colorado Avalanche affiliate team. The AHL Board of Governors approved league expansion in July of 2017, with the Eagles set to come on board this season. The Eagles are located in Loveland, CO — about 100km north of Denver.
"I was expecting to go over to Europe, to be honest. I was looking over there with my new agent, when David Oliver (Director of Player Development, Colorado Avalanche) out of Colorado called me. I had been in contact with him before when I was there out of Junior Hockey. He asked me what my plans were and I indicated I had shifted my focus to Europe and hadn't heard anything from North America," noted Pufahl.
A native of Saskatoon, Sask., Pufahl began his Major Junior career with the Red Deer Rebels in 2010 for two seasons and then moved on to the Saskatoon Blades for the tail-end of the 2011-12 season. The 6'3" defenseman concluded his Junior career with the Everett Silvertips that included a 15 goal and 34 assists season before joining the Axemen in the fall of 2014.
Named as an AUS All-Star in two of his four seasons at Acadia, Pufahl was also honoured as a U SPORTS All-Canadian second team defenseman during the 2015-16 season.
Negotiations were ongoing for the last three weeks and culminated on June 13 when the Eagles announced the signing of Pufahl.
"I am very excited. A kind of a new chapter and very excited to move on and hope for the best in the future. Hopefully, I can keep the dream alive of playing in the NHL," noted Pufahl when asked what he was feeling when the contract was put in front of him to sign.
Pufahl is the second player from the Axemen this past season to join an AHL team. Teammate Boston Leier, who had a seven-game stint following the 2017-18 U SPORTS season, was the first Axemen to sign an AHL contract.
Axemen hockey head coach Darren Burns was thrilled to know Pufahl would extend his playing career into the pro ranks following his time at Acadia.
"We are extremely happy for Matt. He was an integral part of the team's success taking part in three national championship tournaments in his four years at Acadia. His statistics have been extremely impressive throughout his Acadia and Major Junior career and we know that this is going to translate into an excellent professional career. We are excited and wish him the best as he joins the Colorado Avalanche organization," said Burns.
Pufahl will be heading to Denver in July to start training and to get climatized with the surroundings. He will report for Development Camp, the NHL Rookie Tournament and Rookie Camp with the Avalanche in late August and early September.