September 18, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) - Fresno Falcons
FRESNO, CALIF. - The Fresno Falcons announced today that the team has agreed to terms with rookie center Judd Blackwater for the 2008-09 season.
Blackwater enters his first professional season after playing the previous three seasons for the Western Hockey League\'s Spokane Chiefs. Last season, Blackwater helped lead the Chiefs to their first Memorial Cup championship in 17 years, finishing finishing second on the team with 31 goals and fifth on the club with 60 points in 71 regular-season games. During the team\'s march to the championship, the 21-year-old was second on the squad with 10 goals and tied for third with 18 points. Blackwater was named WHL Player of the Week for the week ending May 5.
Overall in his three years with Spokane, Blackwater appeared in 171 games, scoring 50 goals and adding 64 assists for 114 points, while also accumulating 253 penalty minutes.
"Judd is one of those premier first-year players that will make a difference immediately," Falcons head coach and general manager Matt Thomas said. "He\'s a proven playoff performer having won a Memorial Cup championship last season. We look forward to Judd being here to develop and help us with our quest to win a championship in 2008-2009."
Opening Night 2008 at Selland Arena is set for Friday, October 24, when the Falcons host their arch-rivals, the Bakersfield Condors, at 7:35 p.m. Season Ticket packages start at just $432, and are now available by calling the Falcons at (559) 485-7825.
Began in 1988-89 with five teams playing in four states, the Premier \'AA\' Hockey League has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 23 teams in 16 states and British Columbia playing 828 games from Oct. 17, 2008 to Apr. 4, 2009. Eighteen of the 23 teams have played at least five years in their current city.
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL averaged 4,174 per game last season, marking the fourth year in row and the 16th time in the last 18 years that the league has averaged over 4,000 fans. The league has drawn over four million fans each of the last five years and 11 times in the past 12 seasons.