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Maverick Burke |  “Finally” the first NHL game

Maverick Burke | “Finally” the first NHL game

When a young player is the leading scorer in the American League from the start of the season to the end, it stands to reason that he would get at least one call-up to the National League before the end of the season. So when Maverick Burke got the call on April 4 from the Dallas Stars assistant general manager confirming that he would play his first big-league game, “it was no longer a surprise.”

“It's finally happened,” the 22-year-old striker says on the line. “I was happy. It was timing! This is something I feared and I don't think I could ask for better timing. »

The young man had played the previous day with his team, the Texas Stars, and scored 25 goals for themH Target and 72H Point of the season with a 3-2 loss. After the match, he had dinner with his agent, who came to visit him in the southern United States.

“Specifically, we were talking about the fact that we had no idea [si j’allais être rappelé]. We were hoping I would have a game by the end of the year. »

After playing two matches in two evenings, the young man needed some rest. The next morning, he was asleep with his cell phone on mute when Assistant General Manager Mark Yanko tried to call him. “Maybe he called once or twice before [ma sonnerie retentisse] “He says, laughing.

Yanko informed him that he would be called up for Saturday's game in Chicago. Immediately, Burke called the numbers of his parents, family and friends. He then picked up his hockey bag at the rink, packed his bags and boarded a plane to Dallas, where he trained with the club before flying to Chicago for the game with a capital M.

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long waiting

Maverick Burke, the Stars' 2020 first-round pick, has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Last year, after a 47-point season in the American League, he was one of the prospects called up to fill the “Black Ace” role during the NHL playoffs. He participated in warmups twice during the West Final, although he did not play in any games.

This year, he played wide receiver with Logan Stankoven, the organization's 2021 second-round pick, on his MLB line. For several weeks, the two forwards held first and second place in points on the track. Except that at the end of February, Stankoven was called up by the Stars and never returned to the farm club. Burke was not summoned.

Of course you have questions. I think this is normal. At the same time, you have to live with the organization's decisions. We were players who had two excellent seasons. I didn't really control what they decided.

Maverick Burke

He continued to maintain a good production despite his partner's departure, eagerly awaiting his turn. “I don't think you can come into the National League being too prepared. I think you might not arrive prepared enough,” Burke, a Placesville native, said in an interview with the Daily Mail. Journalism At the end of December.

So when he got the call last week, he was ready.

“I couldn't be more prepared and more confident for my first match,” he says.

Photo by SEEGER GRAY, USA TODAY Sports Archive

Maverick Burke (22) played 10:56 against the Blackhawks on Saturday.

same idea

“I knew I was ready, but at the end of the day, you don't know how your game is going to transition to the National League level until you play a real game,” explains Kipker. That's a little bit of what I was thinking about before the game. »

Burke kept the same routine as usual. He took advantage of the moment, without necessarily taking the time to realize what he was going through, he tells us.

“Yes, I have images that will stay with me forever, and I was trying to make the most of them during the national anthem, but… I'm here and this is where I want to be.”

It's happening so fast, you have so many things to think about, and you don't seem to realize it.

Maverick Burke

Burke played a total of 10:56, heading two balls into the net in a 3-2 loss to the Connor Bedard-led Blackhawks. Despite the setback, he is “still happy” with his performance.

“The further I get into the game, the more I progress. Of course there are some points I can improve. […] The more matches I play, the more patient I will be and I will create more matches.

“For the rest, my level of competitiveness and the way I was skating, I think it was good. Finding time and space with the puck is what will help me generate more offense. »

Bourque received good comments after the duel, most notably from Quebec assistant coach Alain Nasreddine.

The next day he returned with the school club.

” in the beginning, [les dirigeants] They told me they didn't know yet if they would take me to Colorado [le lendemain]. In addition, they had to cut a key player to fit into the lineup. Don't want to, I was expecting to come back after the match. »

On the day of his return to the MLS, Burke played one game, collecting an assist in a 3–1 win, which confirmed his team's place in the playoffs. So the young man will participate in the spring dance with less weight on his shoulders, but the same thought in his mind: “I prove every day that I have spent my time in the American League and that I am ready for the next level.” »