Oct. 3, 2007
Fairfield, CT - Former Sacred Heart hockey players Bernie Chmiel (Pittsburgh, PA) and Pierre-Luc O'Brien (Nicolet, QC) have signed contracts to play professionally this season. Chmiel has signed with the Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League while O'Brien will be playing with the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League.
O'Brien graduated from Sacred Heart in May as the most decorated player in school history. In his career he amassed a school records for points, goals and assists (158-67-91) in 142 career collegiate games. A three time first-team All-Atlantic Hockey player, O'Brien led the Pioneers in scoring the last three seasons, and was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award last season, given annually to the most outstanding player in college hockey.
"He's a guy we're going to look to for a lot of offense," South Carolina general manager Jared Bednar said. "He'll be a power-play guy for us, and I expect him to put up good numbers offensively. I really think he has the potential to play in the American League or above, from everything I've heard and all the people I've talked to."
Following the conclusion of his senior season, the Nicolet, Quebec native signed with the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates, totaling two penalty minutes in two contests. He was in training camp with the Hershey Bears of the AHL this fall.
A second-year pro out of Pittsburgh, PA, Chmiel joins the Thunder from the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers, where he picked up six points in 59 games during his rookie season. Prior to turning pro, Chmiel enjoyed a stellar career at Sacred Heart University, where he led all Pioneer defensemen in scoring all four seasons.