SteelHounds Sign Former CHL Defensive Player of the Year
YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO - With training camp just three days away, Youngstown SteelHounds Head Coach Kevin Kaminski made a big splash today announcing the signing of star defenseman Paul Esdale for the upcoming season.
The city of Youngstown and Esdale have a link as his mother was born in Youngstown and attended Ursuline High School before attending Ohio University. Her father (Paul's grandfather) worked for 40 plus years at Republic Steel in downtown Youngstown working on the same ground that the Chevrolet Centre is built on today.
Esdale, 27, returns to the CHL after a one-year hiatus where he played in Sweden and Denmark. The CHL is the spot where he experienced his best success during the 2004-05 campaign with the Wichita Thunder. In 57 games with Wichita, the Edmonton native scored 22 goals with 47 assists and was a league-high +39. His outstanding regular season earned him several honors including being named the CHL Outstanding Defenseman and a spot on the All-CHL First Team. His 22 goals scored were the most of any defenseman in professional hockey that season. During the playoffs, Esdale notched 12 points (3-9=12) in 13 post-season games.
"Paul adds a lot to our club as he is a proven scorer and leader," said Kaminski. "He had an unbelievable season his last go-round in the CHL (2004-05) and gained more valuable experience last season in Europe. He will step in and be a big presence for us making our depth much better."
Last season, the 5-10, 175-pound defenseman started the season in Sweden playing for the IK Nykopings scoring six points (3-3=6) in 12 games. He then joined the Nordsjaelland Cobras in Denmark for the remainder of the season where he posted eight goals with 10 assists in 21 games and had a strong post-season scoring four goals with six assists in 13 games.
"I am very excited to play for an up and coming team like the SteelHounds," said Esdale. "I am confident we will improve on last season and I have been very impressed with Coach Kaminski and the organization. The enthusiasm about this season is contagious and I can't wait to get on the ice."
Esdale's first professional season was with the Florida Everblades in the ECHL during the 2003-04 campaign. He scored five goals with 11 assists in 63 games. His college hockey was played at Brown University where he put up outstanding numbers scoring 25 goals with 42 assists in 119 career games. His strong senior season earned him a contract with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League for five games at the end of the 2002-03 season.
The SteelHounds open training camp on Monday at 10:00 AM and will have an exhibition game versus the Dayton Bombers on Friday, October 13th at 7:05 at the Chevy Centre.
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