Royals Sign Forward Chris Blight
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, today announced that the team has signed forward Chris Blight. Last year, in a season shortened by injury, Blight (6'0/203) (27), who hails from Cambridge, Ontario, scored two goals and added two assists (four points) in seven games for the Ravensburg Tower Stars of the German 2.Bundesliga. This marks the second stint in Reading for Blight, who is entering his sixth year of pro hockey. In 2007-08, Blight scored twenty-one goals and assisted on eighteen others (thirty-nine points) in forty regular season games for the Royals. That year, he also added eight points (4g-4a) in thirteen playoff games for the team.
After an exceptional four-year college career at Clarkson University, Blight kicked off his pro career in 2005-06 with Toledo Storm of the ECHL, where he racked up sixty-one points (29g-32a) in sixty-five regular season games. Blight, who led all first year pros in the league that season with seven game winning goals, finished his rookie season with a flourish, scoring twenty points (7g-13a) in sixteen games in March of 2006 to earn the ECHL's Rookie of the Month award. That scoring onslaught continued through the playoffs, as he racked up four goals and eight assists (twelve points) in thirteen playoff games for the Storm, who went all the way to the American Conference Finals prior to being eliminated by the Gwinnett Gladiators.
Blight continued his scoring prowess for the Storm in 2006-07, when he was the team's second leading scorer with fifty-four points (26g-28a) in seventy-one games. Although Blight would have an exceptional season with the Royals the next year, he may be best remembered in Reading for an incident that occurred while he was a member of the Storm in 2006-07. In what is affectionately remembered as the "Coach Gone Wild" game, on January 27, 2007, at the Sovereign Center, a hit by Blight on then-Royals' Captain Chris Bala ignited a rather emotional sequence of events that resulted in, among other things, a fight between Blight and Royals' defenseman Reagan Rome, as well as the ejection of then-Royals' Head Coach Karl Taylor, who smashed a stick on the side of the boards to express his feelings about the entire sequence of events.
Nonetheless, in 2007-08, Coach Taylor buried that hatchet, so to speak, and brought Blight and his scoring touch to the Royals. After a somewhat slow start, Blight hit high gear for Reading on November 10, 2007, when he tied a team record by scoring four goals (and assisting on a fifth), in a 6-2 win over the Johnstown Chiefs. That game, in which Blight scored two power play goals, a short-handed goal and the game winner, led to his selection as the ECHL's Player of the Week. During the 2007-08 season, Blight earned three separate call-ups to the AHL, including a twenty-game stint with the Albany River Rats, but he returned to Reading late in the year and was integral member of the team's 2008 playoff run. In thirteen playoff games that season, Blight picked up eight points as the Royals knocked off the Elmira Jackals in the North Division Semi-Finals, but fell in seven games to the Cincinnati Cyclones in the North Division Finals.
For the past two seasons, Blight has played in Europe, beginning in Denmark with the Nordjaeslland Cobras where he picked up twenty-seven points (11g-16a) and 101 penalty minutes in thirty-five games before joining the Ravensburg Tower Stars late in the 2008-09 season. Blight finished that season with the Tower Stars and actually led the team with ten points (3g-7a) in eleven playoff games. As noted above, last year, Blight played only seven games for the Tower Stars in a season shortened by injury.
Prior to turning pro, Blight racked up ninety-six points (40g-56a) in 144 college games for Clarkson. The highlight of Blight's collegiate career may have come in his junior season when he led the team with nineteen goals in forty-one games. In the ECAC playoffs that season, the Golden Knights became the first ninth seed in league history to reach the tournament finals by knocking off heavily favored Cornell and top-seeded Colgate in succession, before losing to the Harvard Crimson in the hard fought finals. After the conclusion of his senior season at Clarkson, Blight received the Fran Neragin Memorial Award which is bestowed upon a Clarkson hockey player for sportsmanship and academic performance.
The Royals host the team's tenth anniversary home opener on Saturday, October 23, 2010 (7:05 pm), when the Elmira Jackals visit the Sovereign Center. Also, be sure to catch the Royals' season opener live from Trenton, New Jersey, (@ Trenton Devils Saturday, October 16, 2010 @ 7:00 pm)-and all of the team's away games this year-on Royals TV exclusively on BCTV courtesy of Boscov's Travel, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Season tickets for the Royals' 2010-11 season are currently available. To become a part of Royals hockey, call 610-898-PUCK or log onto www.royalshockey.com .
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