Bracken Kearns looking to make splash in San Jose

Bracken Kearns looking to make splash in San Jose
By Matt Alber
Having spent seven seasons in the American Hockey League, Bracken Kearns got his first taste of the NHL playoffs last May with the San Jose Sharks. The North Vancouver, BC native recently signed a new one year, two-way contract that will see him compete for a roster spot in San Jose during training camp, a decision which Kearns called a “no-brainer.”
After being called up to San Jose at the end of the Worcester season, Kearns played throughout the second round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings. Even though the Sharks went on to lose the series, the experience was valuable for the veteran forward who finally got his first taste of NHL playoff action.
“It was a huge step for me, getting to play in San Jose during the playoffs. It gave me a ton of confidence knowing that the management and coaching staff believe in what I bring to the game and that I can contribute to the team.”
The son of former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dennis Kearns, Bracken still goes into every season looking to prove that he has what it takes to be an everyday NHL player. The 6’0 195-pound forward knows that getting a taste of the playoffs is a huge step and he is looking to build upon that as training camps are set to open in the coming weeks.
“Getting that experience in the playoffs was huge, but all that means is that I need to work even harder to stay there. I need to show the coaching staff and management that I am worth a roster spot for this season, and I’m preparing to be in the NHL this year. I learned a lot in my stint in San Jose last year and I hope that I can just build off that into camp.”
Although his goal is to end up in San Jose, if Kearns ends up in Worcester he will be one of the leaders of the team. The 2013 AHL All-Star led the Worcester Sharks in scoring with 21 goals and 25 assists last season.
“You need to lead by example and approach every practice, game, and workout the same way. Young guys notice when you hold yourself accountable and they look up to that. Once you’re holding yourself accountable then you can start doing the same to other guys. Being someone the young players can look up to is very important but it all starts by playing well and playing the right way.”
A lot of last year’s Worcester team will be returning to the Sharks organization this coming season including Matt Pelech, Jimmy Bonneau, Alex Stalock, and others. Kearns is glad to have a lot of familiar faces back in the fold as they look to build on last season.
“It’s real great to have a lot of familiar faces in the organization. These teammates were a major part of why I decided to re-sign with the Sharks. Pelech and Bonneau are two of my best friends on the team in Worcester, and they’re great guys in the locker room in addition to always sticking up for teammates on the ice. The Sharks are a very well-run organization, I’m glad to be a part of it and I can’t wait for this season whether I end up in San Jose or Worcester.”
Outside from hockey, the 32-year-old has been busy with a new member of his family. His wife Julien and he welcomed their first daughter, London Lulu Kearns back on April 17th, 2013. Like any baby, London has kept Bracken up at night in addition to keeping him very busy throughout the day. Raising a child is hard enough but his rigorous hockey schedule makes it that much harder. Although he is unaware of where he will be to start the year, he plans on having his family stay with him wherever he may be.
“Having London in the middle of April then flying out to San Jose one week later to join the team for the playoffs was hard. Being away for the next month was even harder, but we managed to get through it. I’ve been training in the mornings over the summer and am usually done by noon so I have the rest of the day to spend with my wife and daughter. Training Camp (starts Sept 3rd) is coming up soon and after camp is done we will have a better idea of where we’ll be this year.”
Worcester’s leading scorer from this past season is very excited to be back with the Sharks for 13-14. He’s hard at work preparing for an important NHL training camp where he hopes to prove that he can be in the NHL for good this season.

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