Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Anders Bjork arrives to Bruins development camp with a bang

Ty Anderson
July 08, 2017 - 3:15 pm

Out of the Wisconsin wilderness and on the ice for his first day of Bruins development camp (the third day of camp as a whole), the promise of winger Anders Bjork emerged.

And Bjork, whose 21 goals and 52 points in 39 games for the Fighting Irish last season read as a message that he was ready to take that next step in his career if he felt so inclined, wasted no time in showing a packed Warrior Ice Arena crowd just why the Bruins were so eager to sign him away from a senior season with Notre Dame.

In a day heavy on skill drills and then a scrimmage, Bjork’s first dip into his fourth development camp with the Bruins routinely showed off his offensive creativity, going upstairs, downstairs, and everywhere in between, and it also came without Bjork ignoring the away-from-the-puck responsibilities he would be expected to bring to a pro rink.  

Together, it was just a small sample of the complete package the 20-year-old hopes to bring to the table with a legitimate chance at nabbing an NHL roster spot this fall.

“I think I’m just trying to do the best I can and show how hard I can compete," Bjork said of the opportunity in front of him with the Bruins. "I’m excited to see where I’m at compared to these guys. Obviously there’s a ton of great players here in Boston. Especially as a younger player, it may take time, and I understand that.

“[Bruins general manager] Don Sweeney told me a bit that there’s good opportunity here, especially for wingers, and that’s exciting for me. I think you try to use that as inspiration this summer to get stronger and work on my weaknesses, because it’s every hockey player’s dream to play in the NHL."

The path to the dream, however, had its speed bumps, with Bjork weighing his decisions through the B’s first-round series loss to the Senators, through his time as the 13th skater for the United States at the 2017 World Championships, and right up until the moment he officially signed his entry-level deal with the Black and Gold.

“It was a tough decision, there’s a lot of factors and lot of things, especially school with getting my degree,” Bjork noted. “I wanted to make sure I could figure that out. I really liked Notre Dame. I loved my coaches and teammates and everything there.”

But not unlike the deal Sweeney made to Bjork regarding his NHL future, Bjork’s decision was not an easy one, and much more than hockey on the table for the All-American Bjork, it came down to a separate deal Bjork made to his mother.

“I sorta promised my mom I’d graduate,” Bjork, a marketing major whose parents are Notre Dame alums (his dad Kirt played for the hockey team from 1979-83), admitted.

It’s a promise Bjork will be able to keep, too, thanks to help from Notre Dame’s academic advisor and online classes available to him in between developmental camps and summer skates with fellow pros in Milwaukee and Madison.

“I wanted to be 100 percent sure about [leaving]," he admitted. 

With a degree and with an NHL job.

And so far, so good.

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