Heat news and notes: Bancks honoured for community contributions

Carter Bancks has been named the Abbotsford Heat's AHL Man of the Year award winner.

Heat forward Carter Bancks

Heat forward Carter Bancks

Carter Bancks has been named the Abbotsford Heat’s AHL Man of the Year award winner.

The sophomore forward was honoured for his outstanding contributions to the community during the 2011-12 season. He made a variety of community appearances on behalf of the team, including a visit to Dasmesh Punjabi School where he spent the afternoon reading to the children and signed hundreds of autographs with a broken knuckle.

“Carter has a natural ability to relate to children and he makes a lasting impression with each young fan,” Heat community relations manager Barb Roberts said. “We consider ourselves extremely lucky that he is able to dedicate so much time to the community.”

Bancks is one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL all-star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia.

Bancks, a Marysville, B.C. native, has battled injuries throughout the season, and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 49 games.

MORE BLACK ACES FOR HEAT

The Heat’s roster has gotten deeper this week, with the addition of a trio of prospects from the junior ranks.

Max Reinhart and Joey Leach, teammates with the Kootenay Ice, inked amateur tryout (ATO) contracts on Monday after their team was eliminated from the WHL playoffs. Brandon Glover, a goalie with the Calgary Hitmen, also signed an ATO.

Reinhart, a third-round draft choice by the Calgary Flames in 2010, already has a two-way contract in place, and he’s expected to be a full-time member of the Heat next season. The son of former NHL blueliner Paul Reinhart is known as a solid two-way centre, and posted 78 points (28 goals, 50 assists) in 61 games with the Ice this season.

Leach, a 6’4″ blueliner who notched 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 72 games with Kootenay, was also a third-round pick by the Flames in 2010. He went 73rd overall, nine picks after Reinhart.

Glover’s presence with the Heat is linked to the fact that goalie Leland Irving’s wife is expecting a baby any day. The Victoria native went 20-12-0 with the Hitmen this season, with a 3.11 goals-against average and an .885 save percentage.

AMERICANS IN TOWN

The Heat host a two-game set against the Rochester Americans on Tuesday and Wednesday (7 p.m. both nights, AESC), and the outcome will go a long way toward determining the playoff fates of both teams.

Abbotsford (36-26-3-5, 80 points) currently holds down fourth place in the Western Conference, but they’re just four points up on 10th-place Rochester (32-25-2-6, 76 points). The Amerks also have one game in hand.

PUNJABI NIGHT

In conjunction with Wednesday’s game, the Heat are hosting their inaugural Punjabi Night. The event begins at 5 p.m., two hours before the opening faceoff, with a party on the plaza featuring a DJ and Dholis (drummers).

There will also be a henna artist on the concourse, a community corner with the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, and Indian food and beverage will be available.