September 26, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) - Reading Royals
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, today announced that the Royals have signed forward Justin Bourne ("BORN"). Last year, Bourne (6\'2/195) (25), who hails from Kelowna, British Columbia, split the season between the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. In fifty regular season games for the Grizzlies, Bourne scored sixteen goals and assisted on fifteen others (thirty-one points), while being selected to represent Utah at the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game. Bourne also scored a pair of goals and assisted on three others in sixteen AHL games for Bridgeport.
Prior to turning pro late in the 2006-07 season, Bourne had a stellar four year career at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, where he scored thirty-one goals and picked up fifty-three assists (eighty-four points) in 149 collegiate games. Bourne, who was a three-time selection to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic Team, had a particularly outstanding senior season, when he led the team in assists (21) and became the first UAA player since 2003-04 to register more than thirty points in a single season. Bourne also led UAA that year in game winning goals with four, two of which came in overtime. For his efforts in his senior season, Bourne, who missed only one game during his four year college career, was selected as the team\'s MVP and also received the Leon Thompson Fan Favorite Award.
After the conclusion of his senior season at UAA, Bourne joined the Alaska Aces of the ECHL for nine regular season games late in 2007, during which he racked up six points (3g-3a). He also played in eight ECHL playoff games for Alaska that year, scoring three goals and picking up two assists (five points) for the Aces. During the summer of 2007, the Royals actually acquired the rights to Bourne, whose father (Bob) was a member of the New York Islanders during the Stanley Cup dynasty era of the early Eighties, in a trade that sent defenseman Lee Green to the Alaska Aces. However, Reading traded Bourne\'s rights to Utah (for the rights to forward Danny Stewart) before the 2007-08 season began.
Although he scored a goal in his first game for the Grizzlies, Bourne got off to a bit of a slow start in the 2007-08 season scoring just two goals in his first nineteen games. However, in early December, Bourne hit stride, scoring ten goals and assisting on eleven others (twenty-one points) over a span of 16 games. During that time period, Bourne registered his first pro hattrick (on December 15, 2007 against the Las Vegas Wranglers) and earned a selection to the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition in Stockton, California. In the All-Star Game, Bourne assisted on two goals as he and his National Conference teammates defeated the American Conference 10-7.
Shortly before playing in the All-Star Game, Bourne received his first call-up to the AHL, playing three games for Bridgeport, before being returned to Utah. Bourne was recalled to Bridgeport in mid-February and in his first game back with the Sound Tigers registered his first AHL goal-the first goal of the game in Bridgeport\'s 6-3 win over the Albany River Rats on February 15, 2008. Bourne also scored what proved to be the game winning goal in the Sound Tigers\' 3-1 win over the Lowell Devils on March 2, 2008. In mid-March, Bourne was returned to the Grizzlies, where he scored the triple over-time game winner in Game Two of Utah\'s first round match-up against the Fresno Falcons. Bourne and his teammates in Utah would not only defeat the Falcons in that series but also advanced all the way to the National Conference Finals before finally being eliminated from the playoffs by the Las Vegas Wranglers.
The Royals open the 2008-09 regular season against the Elmira Jackals on Friday, October 17, 2008 at First Arena in Elmira, New York. The Royals\' home opener is set for Saturday, October 25, 2008, when the Johnstown Chiefs visit the Sovereign Center. Royals\' full Season Tickets and Total Choice Flex Plans are now on sale. To obtain more information on becoming a part Royals\' hockey, call 610-898-PUCK to speak with Royals\' ticket representative or visit the Royals website, www.royalshockey.com.