By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Ethan Bear, from the Ochapowace Nation in Saskatchewan, has signed a two-year contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers for the 2021-2022 NHL season.
The deal is reportedly worth $2 million annually – $1.5 million for the first year and $2.5 million in the second year which will total $4 million.
Bear, 23, appeared in 71 games with the Oilers last season. He posted five goals and 16 assists, ranking third among Oilers defencemen in points (21) and time on ice (21:58).
Bear played in four games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Edmonton hockey bubble.
Dave Tippett, Oilers’ head coach, spoke of Bear by saying, “When Bearsy got the deal done Monday night, I told him, ‘Come to camp with that same smile, that same fun attitude that says you’re enjoying being here. Put all the business stuff behind you and get back to where you were last year in camp.’
“That’s when he made our team. He came here full of life, he played with energy, and he played himself on to the team.”
“He’s smart, has good skill and he competes. Those are three pretty good attributes,” said Tippett.
The Indigenous, 5-foot-11, 197-pound blueliner has appeared in 89 career NHL games.
Bear was a revelation last season, attending camp in the fall of 2019 under the radar, and wowing the coaching staff. Bear, Nurse and Draisaitl were the only Oilers to play every game last season with Bear finishing with 21 points. He also averaged 22 minutes a game last season as an Oilers’ rookie.
Bear said he wasn’t worried about getting the contract, but he did say, “The only thing I was worried about was missing camp. I really want to be there, and I’m happy (the contract) is done now. Especially with this short season.”
“We’d done a lot of good work last year, and put ourselves in a great spot to make the playoffs. Then with the pause, getting beat out by Chicago in the qualifying round was very upsetting. I definitely still have that chip on my shoulder,” Bear said. “We need to show that we are a winning team. We’ve got too many good players to lose like that. We have a lot to prove. I want to make sure we have that winning mentality.”
“I want to win. That will be what I am focused on mostly — doing whatever I can to help the team win. We haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t won, or anything. We didn’t even make the playoffs last year, technically.”
“Ya, I’ve got a year under my belt. But the biggest thing is winning now.”