Dan Gibb is one of the good guys.
He's the type of hockey player who'll do whatever he can to help his team win. He'll step into an opponent with a big, momentum-changing hit. He'll block shots with absolutely no regard for his personal safety. Heck, the six-foot-three defensive-style blueliner will even contribute to the offence at key times. Take, for instance, March 12 in Spokane when he scored two third-period goals against the Chiefs and sparked an unexpected comeback from a 5-0 deficit.
Unfortunately, Gibb's Prince George Cougars still fell 6-4 and were dealt a huge blow in their bid to make the Western Hockey League playoffs. But you get the point. When Gibb is on the ice, he's a difference-maker.
As an overager for the Cats this season, Gibb had the 'C' on his shirt for a reason.
Gibb, by the way, is also the favourite player of my 12-year-old son, Will, who may just be the biggest Cougars fan in the city. During post-game shows at CN Centre, Will would always be in the front row and would scramble up to the table to get autographs as soon as the interviews were over. One night, Gibb was doing the signing and took the time to talk to Will and to find out a bit about him. The classy captain asked Will where he usually sat during games and promised to look for him the next time the Cougars played.
Stuff like that sure means a lot to a young, impressionable kid.
So, as stated off the top, Gibb is a true character individual.
That's why it was so nice to see him sign a professional contract on Thursday.
Gibb, a local boy who came up through the Prince George Minor Hockey Association and skated for the Cariboo Cougars before he stepped into the major-junior ranks, inked a deal with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. Stockton is an affiliate club of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.
Thunder head coach Matt Thomas was rubbing his hands with glee at the addition of Gibb.
"Daniel is another quality pick-up with plenty of potential who provides our blueline with a smart stay-at-home approach," Thomas said on the Thunder's website. "Were confident that our defensive depth is boosted with his size, skating ability and strength. He isnt afraid to play physical and his compete level will be an asset to complement our playing style."
Gibb made his pro debut on Friday night when the Thunder played a road game against the San Francisco Bulls. He was wearing No. 6 and found himself in the same lineup as former Cougar Eric Hunter, who was returned to the Thunder earlier in the week after a stint with the Oilers' American Hockey League club, the Oklahoma City Barons.
Here's wishing Gibb the best of luck.
If anybody deserves to succeed at the next level, it's him.