VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Vancouver Canucks have signed their first round draft pick Brendan Gaunce to an entry level deal.

“That’s the only thing that’s really a relief is kind of getting to be a part of the organization in documents and actually being a part and everyone knows that you’re a part of the team,” Gaunce says. “It’s just one of the steps that you have to take to become an NHL hockey player.”

Gaunce, a native of Markham, Ontario had 28 goals and 40 assists in 68 games for the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls last season. He was drafted 26th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

“It’s what you dream about as a kid, to be able to go to an NHL camp and play on an NHL team and it’s 3, 4, 5 weeks away now so it’s something that I’ve always looked forward to,” Gaunce explains. “Leading up to it, I’m pretty anxious to start, but obviously I’m just trying to take everything in stride and go into the camp with a cool mind and a cool head.”

The 6’2″ forward was part of Canada’s under-18 team at last winter’s World Junior Hockey Championship.

Gaunce says there are specific aspects to his game that he needs to work on to become a NHL-caliber player.

“My skating, obviously, to play at the next level needs to be improved from the junior level, and just little things like puck skills in the offensive and defensive zones and kind of playing with an edge.”

Gaunce led all of Ontario midget AAA in scoring in 2009-10 while playing for the Markham Waxers.