Flood destroys Knight’s homeGRAND FORKS — Corban Knight signed his first NHL contract on Friday, but there wasn’t much celebrating.
By: Brad Schlossman, Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS — Corban Knight signed his first NHL contract on Friday, but there wasn’t much celebrating.
Knight and his family spent the day trying to clean up the aftermath of a devastating flood that left their home in ruins.
The former University of North Dakota men’s hockey standout lives in High River, Alta., which was among the hardest-hit towns in the province’s flooding, caused by torrential rains. Knight and his parents, Jack and Laurie, live right on the river.
Among the items believed to be lost in the flood are all of Knight’s hockey memorabilia, including milestone pucks, championship plaques and trophies and other awards. Knight was able to save two University of North Dakota jerseys — one with the Fighting Sioux logo, one that says ‘North Dakota’ on it.
“They’re in my bedroom right now, floating in water,” Knight told the Calgary Herald regarding his possessions. “Hopefully we’ll be able to salvage those, but I really don’t know yet. I lost everything. My hockey equipment and all my hockey stuff from my younger years was in my room. I was actually able to save my (UND) jerseys, so that was pretty nice. But everything else is gone. A bunch of paintings from my grandparents, all gone. . . quite a few things that were significant to me.”
The floodwaters rose significantly in a short amount of time and the town of about 13,000 was evacuated. Residents weren’t allowed to return for about two weeks to assess the damage.
“Pretty crazy to see everything,” Knight told the Calgary Herald. “It was a lot different than what we were expecting. It’s pretty gruesome in that part of town right now.
“Now the hard work begins. We have to gut everything, take everything out, then start the renovations. So, it’ll be a pretty long process. It’ll be a lot of work. But it’s better than just knocking it down and starting from nothing again.”
Knight has been staying with his UND teammate and classmate Andrew MacWilliam in Calgary, which is located about 50 miles north of High River. Knight and MacWilliam both train in Calgary.
When residents were allowed to return to High River to start cleaning up, MacWilliam went to help the Knight family.
While all of this is happening, Knight also is trying to prepare for his first professional season. He signed a two-year deal with the Calgary Flames on Friday with a $90,000 signing bonus. If he plays in the NHL this season, he’ll make $900,000. If he does not, he will make $67,500.
Knight, a Hobey Baker Award finalist last season for UND, was originally drafted in the fifth round by the Florida Panthers in 2009, but he informed Florida that he planned to wait until Aug. 15 and become a free agent, which is allowed for those who play through their senior year of college.
The Panthers then traded his rights to Calgary in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, and Knight signed with the Flames when free agency opened.
Calgary general manager Jay Feaster has said that he thinks Knight can compete for a spot on the big club.
“Obviously, (the flood) is a distraction,” Knight told the Calgary Herald. “But it’s something that I think is a good thing. You kind of get so complacent with everything. You take everything for granted. Now that our home’s gone, it puts everything in perspective.
“For me, it’s motivated me to make this team this fall, then be able to help out my family as much as possible (with an NHL salary). It’s a big motivator.”