PITTSBURGH (WLUC) - Michigan Tech hockey player Dane Birks is one of 12 defensemen at the Pittsburgh Penguins Development Camp that opened Wednesday (June 28). The camp runs through Saturday (July 1) with all on-ice practices being held at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.
Birks enters his junior season in 2017-18 with 73 games played in a Tech sweater. He appeared in 42 games in 2016-17, tallying nine points with two goals and seven assists. Birks was second among Tech defensemen with a +12 rating and blocked 43 shots.
Birks scored the game-winning goal in the GLI Semifinal against Michigan (Dec. 29) and also scored against Minnesota State (March 10) in Game 1 of the WCHA Semifinal series. He added assists both nights and had a third multi-point game at Minnesota Duluth (Oct. 2) with a pair of assists.
Birks was a sixth round pick (164th overall) of the Penguins in the 2013 NHL Draft. This will be the third year in a row he attends camp.
Like in previous years, the camp's off-ice activities take on a bigger importance for the prospects than the on-ice sessions. This year, the prospects will partake in several strength and fitness presentations, participate in team-building exercises and listen to guest speakers provide tips on becoming, and then succeeding as, a professional athlete.