Thunder Re-Signs Defenseman Tony DeHartJuly 12, 2012 - ECHL (ECHL) Stockton Thunder
DeHart, 22, is the second player to return from last year's Thunder blueline. As a rookie, he helped guide the club to the Western Conference Semifinal - its third appearance in the second round in four seasons.
"I think overall our young defensemen really improved last season and Tony was a big reason for that," said Thomas. "He has the ability to play in a lot of different situations. His skill set and ability to play a physical style will add to an impressive group of prospects. We look forward to seeing him take a larger role offensively while continuing to be a solid defensive presence."
The 6-foot-2 and 202 pound defenseman skated in 46 games for the Thunder last season and collected 12 points (4g-8a). He finished with a +1 rating during the regular season and appeared in eight Kelly Cup Playoff games, notching two assists.
He made his professional debut in 2009-10 with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, suiting up in two games and compiling a +2 rating.
The native of Ballwin, Mo. skated in 261 career junior games with London and Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League and notched 116 points (23g-93a) with 302 penalty minutes.
"Getting a chance to play again for Matt Thomas and the Thunder organization made returning for this next season an easy decision," said DeHart. "Our fans are the best in the league. The situations that Coach placed me in last season were big for my development. I'm looking forward to my continued progress while on the team."
DeHart was selected by the New York Islanders in the fifth round (125th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He originally signed with the Thunder as a free agent on Oct. 13, 2011.
Opening Night is Friday, Oct. 12 when the Thunder launches the 2012-13 season and the ECHL's 25th Anniversary campaign at home against the Ontario Reign starting at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena.
A two time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," the Thunder led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the seventh consecutive season in 2011-12. Season Tickets for 2012-13 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit http://www.stocktonthunder.com/ .
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