Canucks sign college standout Akito Hirose to entry-level contract

Minnesota State's Akito Hirose (2) and St. Cloud State's Kevin Fitzgerald (28) watch the puck during the third period of an NCAA men's Frozen Four hockey semifinal in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 8, 2021. St. Cloud State won 5-4 to advance to the championship game Saturday. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

The Vancouver Canucks have signed free-agent defenceman Akito Hirose to a two-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Wednesday.

Hirose, 23, had four goals and 23 assists in 38 games with Minnesota State University this season, his third in the NCAA.

The six-foot, 170-pound college standout from Calgary had two goals and 24 assists in 38 games with Minnesota State last season.

Hirose’s older brother, Taro, has played 58 National Hockey League games after signing with the Detroit Red Wings out of college in 2019.

The move is the Canucks’ latest college free-agent signing after the club signed Western Michigan University centre Max Sasson to an entry-level deal on Sunday.

Sasson, 22, had 42 points in 38 games in his sophomore season in the NCAA.

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