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Thunder add pair of rookie D-men

June 23, 2004 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Wichita Thunder News Release

WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Thunder today announced the signings of rookie defensemen Ryan Fairbarn and Blake Forsyth.

Fairbarn, a 6-2, 205-pound native of Innisfil, Ontario joins the Thunder from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where he was one of the school's all-time top defensemen. This past season he led all RIT blueliners and finished third overall with 29 points in just 25 games. He also led the team with 95 shots on goal and 19 power play points en route to being named the 2004 ECAC West Co-player of the Year.

An ECAC All-Star selection in each of his four seasons at RIT, Fairbarn amassed 113 points in 105 career games. Before attending RIT, Fairbarn played junior A hockey with the Georgetown Raiders, where he was named the 2000 OHA Defenseman of the Year.

Forsyth, another 6-2, 205-pound native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, joins the Thunder from the University of Manitoba Bisons, where he was described as "an effective offensive and sound defensive defenseman who plays both smart and physical." This past season he led all Bison defensemen with 22 points and ranked third among all Canada West players with 124 penalty minutes in just 37 games. Over his four-year college career, Forsyth notched 76 points and 390 penalty minutes in 153 games.

A three-time Academic All-Canadian, Forsyth graduated with Bachelor Degrees in both Education and Physical Education. Prior to attending the University of Manitoba, Forsyth played junior hockey with the Winnipeg South Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), where he was a two-time MJHL All-Star, as well as the Blues' defenseman of the year in all three seasons. In 208 games, he compiled 114 points and 660 penalty minutes.

"Ryan and Blake are a pair of highly touted young defensemen who skate and move the puck very well", said Thunder head coach Derek Laxdal. "Both players will bring size, skill and offensive presence to the team and will excel at the CHL level."

Fairbarn and Forsyth join veteran forward Travis Clayton and goaltender Jamie Vandespyker under contract for 2004-05. Corporate packages and season tickets for the 2004-05 campaign are on sale now. A deposit of $50 per seat is required. To order your tickets, call the Thunder office at 264-GOAL or visit our website at

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