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Silvertips Center Gage Goncalves Signs NHL Contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning

December 14, 2020 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Everett Silvertips News Release

EVERETT, WA - The Everett Silvertips, proud seven-time U.S. Division champion and two time Western Conference champion of the Western Hockey League, announced today that center Gage Goncalves (Gonn-sall-vez) has signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League.

"Gage's development is a feel good story for everybody and it makes us extremely proud in the Silvertips family to see this day become a reality," said Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson. "From being an undrafted invite to training camp, to making the roster as a listed player, then exploding onto the scene with a 32-goal improvement speaks volumes on his desire and work ethic. He's stayed positive, even with reaching World Junior tryouts which shows his swift development curve. It's a motivational tool for him going forward, and this milestone happened to a very fine young man and family."

"This is such a proud day for our organization, and a great hockey player and even better human being like Gage," said Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams. "You never question his heart, work ethic, and desire to get better. He's played such an important role for us and he has the potential to make a great impact in the future with the Lightning organization. It's a testimony to Gage's resiliency, dedication, and a well-deserved accomplishment for him and his family."

Goncalves, 19, was selected by the Lightning in the second round (62nd overall) in the 2020 National Hockey League Entry Draft and was named Silvertips Most Improved Player last season when he ranked third on the program in points (71), second in goals (33), third in assists (38), second in game winning goals (7), tied the lead in power play goals (14) and was +32 in 60 games. The Mission, British Columbia native experienced a 56 point and 32 goal increase from his 2018-19 rookie campaign and bagged 22 multi point games, including a pair of career-high four point outings.

His shootout goal against the Spokane Chiefs, on Dec. 15, 2019 received attention including a nomination on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Ten Plays, when the Silvertips defeated Spokane, 4-3 in a shootout in downtown Everett.

Goncalves recently completed participation in Hockey Canada's tryout camp for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and has 34 points, 52 assists, 86 points, and a +42 rating in 128 career games in a Silvertips jersey. The 6-foot-1, 170 pound forward was originally acquired by the Silvertips as a listed player and signed a WHL standard player agreement on Jan. 3, 2018, making his Silvertips and WHL debut four days later against the Victoria Royals.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling to see this day happen," said Goncalves. "For Garry taking a chance on me as an undrafted invite to camp, to my coaches for how they invested their time, and my teammates who made me a better player, I'm can't thank them enough. I'm grateful for Tampa Bay to take a chance on me and have faith in my growth, for family and all the sacrifices they've made, and for a chance to remember my grandpa who passed away just a couple days ago. Hopefully I can buy him a beverage when we get to heaven someday. It's motivation for this next season in Everett and to prepare for the road ahead with the Lightning organization."

Goncalves, eligible to return to the Silvertips for his third full year and the upcoming 2020-21 season, has six points in ten WHL Playoff games. He is the fifth Silvertips player to sign a three-year, NHL entry level contract this year, joining Bryce Kindopp (Anaheim), Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia), Jake Christiansen (Columbus), and Dustin Wolf (Calgary).

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