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 Wenatchee Wild

Wild Alumni Wood, Sward Earn Amateur Tryout Contracts with AHL's Colorado Eagles

April 16, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Wenatchee Wild News Release

Wenatchee Wild forward Briley Wood (right, 15) and Graham Sward (center, 44)
Wenatchee Wild forward Briley Wood (right, 15) and Graham Sward (center, 44)
(Wenatchee Wild, Credit: Russ Alman)

LOVELAND, Colo. - After seeing their final junior seasons end last Sunday, Wenatchee Wild standouts Graham Sward and Briley Wood are getting a well-deserved call to the pros.

The Wenatchee Wild are excited to announce that Sward and Wood have both been signed to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League (AHL) on Amateur Tryout contracts. The pair join the team ahead of a four-game homestand to end Colorado's regular season, starting with tonight's home game against the San Diego Gulls.

A defenseman from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Sward finished an illustrious WHL career with 250 regular-season appearances and 180 points, including 66 games this past season. With 81 points, he finished second on the Wenatchee roster in scoring and tied the organization's record for scoring by a defenseman, set last year by Ben Zloty. He also earned the WHL U.S. Division's Defenseman of the Year award, and is one of four nominees for the league's Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy. His 16-game point streak covering his final regular-season game with the Winnipeg ICE and first 15 games with the Wild is also the organization's record for a defenseman. After being selected by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round of the 2022 National Hockey League Draft, his rights were traded to the Colorado Avalanche, the Eagles' NHL parent club, in a deadline deal last month.

A forward from Rivers, Manitoba, Wood enjoyed a breakout season in 2023-24 with 28 goals and 34 assists - his 62 points this season ranked third on the Wild roster in scoring. He finished his final season of junior hockey with a memorable Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Kelowna Rockets, posting six goals and seven assists in a six-game affair. His four-goal volley in Game 1 was the first four-goal playoff game in the WHL since 2017, and his 13 points led all first-round scorers across the Canadian Hockey League. Wood is also well-known to the Avalanche, having earned an invitation to the club's development camp this past summer.

The signings of Wood and Sward come on the heels of another Wenatchee player's year-end call to the pros, after Evan Friesen picked up an Amateur Tryout contract to the Utah Grizzlies this past week. The third-year WHL forward made his pro debut Saturday in the Grizzlies' season-ending loss at the Idaho Steelheads.

Wood and Sward join an Eagles club that is firmly in the AHL Calder Cup playoff picture, with seven of the 10 Pacific Division teams earning a postseason bid. Colorado enters the final week of the AHL regular season in fifth place in the division standings, 19 points clear of eighth-place Henderson for a playoff spot.

The Wenatchee Wild congratulate Graham Sward and Briley Wood on earning Amateur Tryout contracts with the Colorado Eagles, and wish them all further success as they join the ranks of Wenatchee Wild and Winnipeg ICE alumni to earn the call to pro hockey.

Images from this story

Wenatchee Wild forward Briley Wood (right, 15) and Graham Sward (center, 44)
Wenatchee Wild forward Briley Wood (right, 15) and Graham Sward (center, 44)

(Russ Alman)

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