March 04, 2008

Where Are They Now: Brad Bonello

From a tour of internet, it would appear that he knows how to pull up stakes and move because he’s been doing a lot of it in the three years since playing with the Ottawa 67s in their 2005 Memorial Cup run.

Now with the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL, his tour has included Grand Rapids (AHL), Toledo (ECHL), and Greenville (ECHL) during the 2005-2006 season, and Port Huron (UHL), Bloomington (UHL), and Long Beach (ECHL) during the 2006-2007 season. A whole season in Dayton so far – wonder if he’s unpacked!

That’s a lot of moving around for what has to be the love of the game ‘cause it doesn’t look like these players make alot money. According to ECHL rules, the weekly salary cap is $11,200 and the salary floor is $8,200. Rookie minimum salary is $340 a week; a returning player minimum is $375 a week. If a team went to the cap and had a full roster, the average weekly salary for each player would be $560. Say the regular season is 6 months long - that winds up being a whopping $13,440. Even if he triples that, it’s clearly a beer budget salary. Also, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of longevity in the ECHL. Each team can carry only 4 veterans and a veteran is any player that has played 260 professional games. Brad has played 165 professional games as of this writing. I guess it’s off to Europe after that if he gets the chance. Or some other “plan B” scenario. I haven’t done any research but my bet is that not too many players make the leap from being an ECHL veteran to the NHL.

He seems to be doing well enough, as of this writing he is ranked 117th out of what is around 450 or so skaters in the league. He has 13 goals and 20 assists in 53 games. He’s a minus-6 and has 66 PIMS on a team that appears to be in the middle of the pack total PIM-wise.

A quote from the Dayton Daily News neatly summed up what I remembered of him here in Ottawa:

"There's a saying that you can teach a big guy to skate but you can't teach a small guy how to grow," he said. "In this sport, you have to have a willingness to compete and battle no matter what your size.

"If you don't have the height, you need to play like you're 6-1 or 6-2 through your effort."

He certainly played like that here. Thomas Nesbitt seems to be growing into this role in the current incarnation of the Ottawa 67s.

So, he’s a grinder in the minors still playing hockey probably because he loves it. Doesn’t sound like he took advantage of the OHL scholarship program to get a degree to fall back on when his playing days are over.

Hope it all works out for him in the long run.

Go 67s Go!

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