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Kevin Bieksa (born on June 16, 1981 in Grimsbymarker, Ontariomarker) is a Canadianmarker professional ice hockey defenceman who currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL). After playing junior hockey in Ontario, Bieksa was awarded a scholarship to Bowling Green University, where he spent four years. While enrolled in university, Bieksa was selected by the Canucks in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, and joined their minor league affiliate, the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL), upon graduating. After spending time with the Moose, he joined the Canucks as a regular member of the team. A physical defenceman, Bieksa has increased his scoring totals in each of the full seasons he has played in the NHL.

Playing career

University and AHL

Bieksa played four years of college hockey at Bowling Green University, starting in 2000–01. After his freshman year, he was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks with the 151st pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. In 2003–04, he made his professional debut with the Canucks' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, playing the final four games of the season. The following year, in 2004–05, he was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team after recording 39 points in his first full professional season.

NHL

After another solid start with the Moose in 2005–06, he was called up by the Canucks and played his first NHL game on December 19, 2005, against the Los Angeles Kings. Bieksa finished the season playing in 39 games for the Canucks, averaging 16 minutes of ice-time per game. On August 17, 2006, he was re-signed by the Canucks.

Switiching his jersey number from 25 to 3 in 2006–07, he scored his first NHL goal on October 13, 2006, against Vesa Toskala in a loss to the San Jose Sharks. Bieksa rapidly developed into one of the Canucks' top blueliners and finished the season leading all team defencemen in assists, points and penalty minutes, while also tallying a career-high 12 goals. He was regularly given a shutdown role against opposing teams' top forwards and was awarded the team's Babe Pratt Trophy as best defenceman. After the Canucks were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the playoffs, the Canucks acknowledged Bieksa's breakout season with a 3-year, $11.25 million contract extension, effective 2008–09.

On November 1, 2007, Bieksa suffered a severe calf laceration in a game against the Nashville Predators. After battling with Vern Fiddler against the boards, Fiddler's skate slashed Bieksa across the back of his right calf. Bieksa was helped to the bench, leaving a trail of blood behind him on the ice. Limited to 34 games, he managed 12 points 2007–08.

Bieksa during a game in 2009
Injury troubles continued early in 2008–09, as just two games into the season, Bieksa injured his knee while attempting to hit Wayne Primeau in an October 11, 2008 game against the Calgary Flames; he was out of the lineup for a week. On November 4, he was re-injured after taking a puck off his skate against the Nashville Predators. Bieksa played through the injury for two games before learning that he had suffered a bone fracture in his left foot. He returned after missing six games against the Calgary Flames. Despite missing 10 games in total, Bieksa established a career-high 32 assist and 43 points, first among team defencemen.

His last name, which is pronounced phonetically (Bee-ek-sa), is frequently mispronounced by sports newscasters and hockey broadcasterssuch as Bob Cole and Harry Neale, to the frustration or amusement of many fans. It has even been misspelled on scoreboards.

Off the ice

Kevin Bieksa and his wife, Katie, have one son, Cole Walter, born October 24, 2007, and one daughter, Reese, born October 7, 2009.

Awards



Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1997–98 Burlington Cougars OPJHL 27 0 3 3 10
1998–99 Burlington Cougars OPJHL 48 8 29 37 83
1999–00 Burlington Cougars OPJHL 49 6 27 33 139
2000–01 Bowling Green State University CCHA 35 4 9 13 90
2001–02 Bowling Green State University CCHA 40 5 10 15 68
2002–03 Bowling Green State University CCHA 34 8 17 25 92
2003–04 Bowling Green State University CCHA 38 7 15 22 66
2003–04 Manitoba Moose AHL 4 0 2 2 2
2004–05 Manitoba Moose AHL 80 12 27 39 192 14 1 1 2 35
2005–06 Manitoba Moose AHL 23 3 17 20 71 13 0 10 10 38
2005–06 Vancouver Canucks NHL 39 0 6 6 77
2006–07 Vancouver Canucks NHL 81 12 30 42 134 9 0 0 0 20
2007–08 Manitoba Moose AHL 1 0 1 1 2
2007–08 Vancouver Canucks NHL 34 2 10 12 90
2008–09 Vancouver Canucks NHL 72 11 32 43 97 10 0 5 5 14
NHL totals 226 25 78 103 398 19 0 5 5 34


References

External links




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