Thunder Announces First Three Players for 2019-20
Wichita, KS - The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, AHL's Bakersfield Condors and powered by Toyota, announced today that the team has signed forwards Fabrizio Ricci, John Carpino and Matthew Whittaker for the 2019-20 season.
"I'm very excited to have these three young, hungry forwards as part of the Thunder family," stated Head Coach Bruce Ramsay. "They all bring size, grit and determination to our lineup and I'm looking forward to helping them achieve their goal of playing at a higher level."
Ricci, 24, returns to North America after playing last season for the EIHL's Dundee Stars. A native of Toronto, Ontario, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward potted 39 points (17g, 22a) in 60 games this past year and was named Player of the Year during the team's End of Year Awards. The third-year forward began his pro career in France with Cergy, where he tallied 39 points (11g, 28a) in 26 games.
Prior to turning pro, Ricci played two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for Blainville-Boisbriand and Baie-Comeau. He tallied 74 points (32g, 42a) in 133 games and added 143 penalty minutes. After his junior career, he spent one season at Ryerson University (USport) where he added 10 points (5g, 5a) in 16 games.
Carpino, 24, turns pro after spending the last three years at Ryerson University. The Vaughan, Ontario native collected 60 points (30g, 30a) in 82 games for the Rams. He began his collegiate career at Western Michigan University in 2014-15 and spent two seasons there before transferring.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward had a solid junior career in the Ontario Junior Hockey League with the Vaughan Vipers and North York Rangers. His best year came in 2012-13 where he piled up 83 points (42g, 41a) in 54 games for the Rangers. He earned OJHL First All-Star Team honors and was named Most Improved Player. Overall, he finished with 179 points (83g, 96a) in 154 games during his junior career.
Whittaker, 24, turns pro after playing a four-year collegiate career at Mercyhurst University. A native of Toronto, Ontario, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward is coming off a career year where he tallied 25 points (10g, 15a) in 35 games. After his senior season completed, he was signed to an ATO with the Newfoundland Growlers and appeared in five games.
He reunites with Carpino, who he played with in North York for two seasons. His best season came in 2014-15 where he racked up 72 points (28g, 44a) in 53 games for the Rangers. Overall, he finished with 116 points (46g, 70a) in 149 games.
The Thunder will open the season at home on Friday and Saturday, October 11th and 12th and will host the ECHL All-Star Classic on Wednesday January 22nd, 2020. Get your tickets now for the league's annual showcase that features some of the best young talent across the ECHL.
Season tickets for the 2019-20 season are on sale now. Get your seats for just $34 per month. All it takes is a $1 deposit per seat to reserve yours today. To learn more, click here or contact a Thunder representative at the office today!
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