Thunder Welcomes Center Eric HunterAugust 30, 2012 - ECHL (ECHL) Stockton Thunder
Hunter, 26, comes to Stockton after closing his first full professional season with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League in 2011-12. He suited up 75 games with the Monsters - missing only one during the season and earned 16 points (6g-10a) - all at even strength.
Formerly skating with the University of Alberta Golden Bears (CIS), his connections to Edmonton at the NHL level include a spot in Oilers training camp in 2005 and preseason action against the Oilers as a member of the Golden Bears.
"Eric is a player we have been targeting for a long time after seeing him play against the Edmonton Oilers in their rookie camp a few seasons ago," said Thomas. "He is a very skilled forward that is tough to knock off the puck and earned a reputation in the AHL as a player that can contribute in critical situations. He gives us another offensive weapon that competes hard every night."
Hunter was twice selected in the NHL Entry Draft, beginning with the Chicago Blackhawks in the eighth round (229th overall) in 2004 and with the New York Rangers in the sixth round (174th overall) in 2006. Prior to his pro debut in Lake Erie, he wrapped up his college career with the Golden Bears as team captain in 2010-11 and earned the Dr. Randy Gregg Award for athletic ability, academics and citizenship.
The 6-foot-1 and 194 pound forward was selected as Canada West Freshman of the Year and helped guide Alberta to the CIS University Cup championship in 2007-08. He achieved career highs in assists (20), points (31) and tied another in goals (11) in the 2009-10 season.
Hunter completed his four year career with the Golden Bears with 98 points (40g-58a) in 105 games.
The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba also suited up with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League for five seasons (2002-07) and scored 233 points (111g-122a) in 323 career games, skating with current NHL notables Devin Setoguchi (Minnesota) and Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg).
"The decision to come to Stockton was easy and based on many factors," said Hunter. "I heard good things about its reputation based on advice from a good friend (Bakersfield Condors and former Thunder forward), Jesse Gimblett and others in the hockey world. It's an attractive destination when you factor in fan support, the great looking city, success of the team and sending players up to the AHL.
Hunter continued, "I'm looking forward to bringing a consistent game to the Thunder this season. I work hard, have an offensive upside, can be trusted in most situations and am not afraid to mix it up in the corners."
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/.
ECHL Stories from August 30, 2012
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- Aces Sign Pair of Newcomers - Alaska Aces
- Thunder Welcomes Center Eric Hunter - Stockton Thunder
- Cyclones Add David MacDonald and Alex Bourret - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Grizzlies Announce Preseason Schedule - Utah Grizzlies
- Project Filter "Season-Ticket Holder Only" Game Returns - Idaho Steelheads
- IceMen Land Second NHL Affiliation with St. Louis Blues - Evansville IceMen
- Scherer and O'Brien Hang up the Skates After Nine Combined Seasons with Stingrays - South Carolina Stingrays
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