Former Raider Maylan off to Italy

Andrew Schopp
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Former Prince Albert Raider Justin Maylan has signed a deal with Italian Serie A team HC Gherdeina. Maylan spent five seasons in the WHL, tallying 255 points in 331 games with the Raiders, Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince George Cougars. Photo courtesy of HC Gherdeina 

Former Prince Albert Raider Justin Maylan will need to brush up on his Italian. 

After spending the bulk of last season in Denmark, the 23-year-old Calgary product is taking his talents to Italy after signing a deal with HC Gherdëina of the Serie A league.

Maylan spent five seasons in the WHL, tallying 255 points in 331 games with the Raiders, Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince George Cougars.

Although Maylan’s NHL dreams have not yet come to fruition, he’s happy to keep things going across the Atlantic, where he’ll not only get to play the game professionally but also see the world beyond the barns of the North American hockey landscape.

“When you get older, you just want to make a living playing the game,” Maylan said. “I’m glad I gave it a shot in North America, I also got a great opportunity to see a whole different side of the world.”

Last season, Maylan played seven games for the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays and the Oklahoma City Barons in addition to his 22 tilts in the Danish Oddset Ligaen.

In his first foray into European-league hockey last season with the Herning Blue Fox, Maylan tallied six goals and 15 assists as he became immersed in Danish culture, even picking up some of the language.

Although taking to Europe is not the hockey route he had initially mapped out for himself in junior, skating in a foreign land has changed his perspective on playing the game. 

“It’s made me realize that there’s more to life than just hockey,” Maylan said of playing abroad. “If you are just ‘hockey, hockey, hockey’ then you don’t really get to see a whole lot of the world.”

Maylan joins three other imports on the mostly Italian Gherdëina roster; American Derek Eastman, Finn Jarno Mensonen and fellow Canadian and future roommate Anthony Nigro.

Nigro tallied 196 points in 251 games as a winger in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and Ottawa 67’s from 2006-2010. 

With only his experience in Denmark to compare it to, Maylan isn’t sure what to expect from Italian hockey, however, he knows his role as a Canadian import is to put up big numbers.

Following the 2013-2014 Serie A campaign, Canadian Chris DiDomenico finished second in league scoring, tallying 72 points in 31 games while former NHL goaltender and Montreal product Jean-Sebastien Aubin stood as one of the league’s top keepers.

“Obviously imports have to be their top players and point getters,” he said. “That’s my expectation. I had a really good summer so I can’t see myself doing anything less.” 

With the Raiders, Maylan put up some of his most impressive WHL numbers, including an 89-point season in his overage year in 2012.

Looking back, Maylan remembers his time in Prince Albert as some of the best years of his junior career both on and off the ice with his billet mother Carol Ring, the fans and a top-notch Raiders organization.

“People always ask me about P.A.,” Maylan said. “They think it’s not the rosiest spot in the league, but I tell them that P.A. is one of the top ranked teams as far the staff. Bruno Campese is a first class GM and the fans are unbelievable.” 

Maylan further expressed his fondness for the Raiders team of front office staff and the friends he’s made at various spots in town. 

As he heads off to Italy on Aug. 17 for training camp, Maylan is excited to live the Italian way of life, taking in the country’s culture while playing the Canadian game he loves.

“I’m going over there with an open mindset,” he said. “I want to live the Italian way of life for the year. People say it’s a slower pace. I’m just going to go with the flow.” 

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