Tis the season for collegiate hockey players to turn pro, and four players with links to Chilliwack have done so.
First, a hometown kid has signed a National Hockey League contract, as Clay Stevenson makes the move from Dartmouth College to the Washington Capitals. The 23-year-old goaltender, who played his BCHL hockey with the Coquitlam Express, inks a two-year entry level deal that begins next season.
The contract carries an annual average value of $855,000 at the NHL level.
Stevenson spent two years studying at Dartmouth, but only one played season for the Big Green thanks to COVID-19. The team in front of him wasn’t great, accounting for his 6-14-2 record in 23 appearances. But the netminder’s 92.2 save percentage was second best in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC).
Stevenson was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team and the ECAC Third All-Star Team.
Stevenson will wear No. 43 when he makes his pro debut in the American Hockey League, after signing an amateur tryout agreement with the Hershey Bears April 7. The Bears are the top minor league affiliate for the NHL’s Capitals.
Meanwhile, a Chilliwack Chiefs alum has also put his name on an NHL contract.
Forward Corey Andonovski, part of the RBC Cup champion Chiefs in 2018, has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins and gotten into five games with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Andonovski spent four years at Princeton University, producing 10 goals and 22 points in 31 games this season.
Like Stevenson, Andonovski will be on a two-year entry level deal.
“I’m super excited to be part of the Penguins organization,” Andonovski told the Daily Princetonian, Princeton University’s daily student news publication “Joining such a great organization has been a dream of mine ever since I was little, and I can’t thank all of my teammates and coaches I’ve had over the years [enough] — as well as my family and friends who have been by my side through it all.”
Abbotsford product and former Chief Kohen Olischefski is leaving Providence University for the AHL’s Rochester Americans, the top minor league affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. The forward spent five seasons in the NCAA ranks, the first four with the University of Denver Pioneers. His final season with Providence saw him net eight goals and 18 points in 38 games.
And finally, goalie Mark Sinclair is turning pro with the East Coast Hockey League’s Cincinnati Cyclones, an affiliate of the Sabres.
Sinclair, who tended net for the Chiefs in 2016-17, spent the last two seasons with Michigan Tech and three before that with the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.