It appears as if local hockey fans will get a first look tonight at the player who was the biggest off-season signing of the Newfoundland Growlers.
The ECHL team tweeted out Monday evening that former National Hockey League defenceman Adam Pardy will likely suit up as the Growlers take on the Maine Mariners at Mile One Centre (7 p.m.).
Pardy, the 34-year-old Bonavista native who has appeared in 342 NHL games, missed the Growlers’ first 25 contests because of an injury at was unspecified by the team (although it was believed to be concussion related). In fact, Pardy hasn’t yet played a competitive game for Newfoundland because the injury happened in an early practice before any of the Growlers’ three pre-season contests.
But there had been signs he was getting ready to make his debut. Of late, the six-foot-four, 235-pound rearguard has been skating in practice without the red no-contact jersey he had been wearing earlier in the fall. He had also recently travelled with the team on a five-game road trip and been announced as an assistant captain for home games.
Pardy saw action in all or parts of nine NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators, scoring four goals and 48 assists while registering 269 penalty minutes and a plus seven rating. He last played in North America during the 2016-17 season, appearing in four games with Nashville and 31 with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators’ American Hockey League farm team.
Last season, he got into just 11 contests with Frolunda after signing with that Swedish Elite League team after Christmas. Altogether, Pardy has played just 72 games, playoffs included, the last three-and-a-half years.
But even there will likely be rust, he would be a welcome addition to a Growlers team that has been dealing with a shortfall on the blueline ever since the recall of Stefan LeBlanc to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
Goulds native Rodi Short, brought in from the local senior ranks, performed admirably in a fill-in role in two roles against the Reading Royals last weekend at Mile One, but Short was released Monday.
The Growlers (16-8-1) lost twice to the Royals, the first time since mid-October that Newfoundland suffered back-to-back defeats, and the first time that it happened at Mile One this season.
Tonight’s game wouldn’t mark the first time Pardy suited up for the home side in a minor pro game at Mile One Centre. He played three games for the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps in October of 2013, including one at Mile One … Rodi Short wasn’t the only local senior hockey player let go by the Growlers Monday. A.J. Whiffen, Short’s regular teammate on the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, was released by the team from his contract as emergency backup goalie. That’s an indication netminder Mario Culina, who missed the first four games of what will be a six-game homestand because of injury, will be available tonight against the Mariners (12-9-1). … There’s a good chance Culina will play either tonight or in Wednesday’s rematch with Maine, given Michael Garteig has started seven straight for Newfoundland and 20 of 25 since the start of the season … The Growlers and Mariners, who both entered the ECHL as expansion teams this year, have met once this season. With Maine prevailing 4-2 in an Oct. 21 contest at Portland, Me.