Aug. 13, 2007
Fairfield, CT - Former Pioneers Jason Smith (St. Lambert, QC) and Drew Sanders (Modesto, CA) recently signed contracts to play hockey professionally this season. Smith signed with the AHL's Lowell Devils, the top minor league affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. Sanders agreed to terms with the Stockton (CA) Thunder, the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers and American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons.
In his four years at SHU, Smith posted 38 wins, 29 losses, four ties, two shutouts, and a 2.74 goals-against average in 71 appearances for the Pioneers. He set the school record for single season and career wins and single season goals against average by a goaltender.
Smith was named to the Atlantic Hockey First All-Star Team during each of the last two seasons. He was New Jersey's fifth choice, 197th overall in the 2003 Entry Draft.
Sanders, who developed a reputation as one of the top defensive forwards in the Atlantic Hockey Association, joins the Thunder after a four-year career at Sacred Heart during which he appeared in 129 career games for the Pioneers while scoring 26 career points (5g-21a) with 82 penalty minutes.
"Drew fits the mold of a forward with character and who works hard each and every shift, so it's a pleasure to find a player that fits his qualities right in our own backyard," said Stockton head coach Chris Cichocki. "I have no doubt he'll do everything in his power to become an asset for our organization."
A California native, Sanders is excited to be back on the west coast. "I've had ambitions to play in a program that's close to home which makes it really exciting to sign with the Thunder," said Sanders. "I've had a chance to see a couple of games while staying at home for winter break while in college, so I'm thrilled at getting an opportunity to play in such an amazing atmosphere."