The Abbotsford Canucks have signed forward Yushiroh Hirano to a one-year AHL/ECHL contract, the club announced Tuesday.
Hirano is a 6’0″, 216-pound right wing from Tomakomai, Japan. The 26-year-old tallied five goals and 12 points in 30 American Hockey League games with Abbotsford during the 2021–22 regular season, becoming the first Japanese-born player to score in the AHL.
Hirano left the Canucks in April to play for Team Japan at the 2022 Division 1B Ice Hockey World Championship in Poland. While serving as an alternate captain, Hirano led the tournament with six goals and 10 points in four games as Japan captured silver.
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CanucksArmy contributor Cody Severtson took a closer look at Hirano’s first stint in Abbotsford in a feature published in April.
Now, Hirano is back. It remains to be seen whether he’ll see more time in the Canucks’ top six under new head coach Jeremy Colliton, but Hirano certainly earned praise from former bench boss Trent Cull upon his departure earlier this year.
You know it’s not very often you bring guys in halfway through a year from a lower level and all of a sudden you miss these guys,” Cull said. “We understand that he’s leaving, and [it’s] a little bittersweet! I wish him well at the World Championships; it’s an honour, obviously, to represent your country.”
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Hirano played two seasons at Shirakaba Gakuen High while growing up in Japan before jumping between Sweden’s J20 League, the USHL, the Asia League, and the ECHL for most of the 2010s.
He split the 2021–22 season between Abbotsford and the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, playing exclusively on a professional tryout during his first stint with the Canucks. This time around, he has a full-fledged contract.