(Cover photo credit: Record-Eagle/Brett A. Sommers)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are proud to announce the signing of defenseman Andrew Froese from Traverse City Central High School to a tender contract for the 2016-17 season. Froese is the eighth player to be tendered this season as well as the second defenseman.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Froese. “My brother was there two years ago, and after coming down for Spring Break and being at the rink, seeing what kind of fan base they have, and just seeing how well everything is done, it’s something special I’m really looking forward to.”
Froese, 18, has played 23 games for the Traverse City Central Trojans during the 2015-16 season, recording 18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points with eight power play goals and 38 penalty minutes, sitting second on the team in goals and points while sitting third in assists. Over his last two seasons, the Traverse City, Mich., native has been second in goals and points among both forward and defenseman. Following the 2014-15 season, Froese was named to the 2015 High School Dream Team list, as selected by the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches’ Association (MHSHCA), becoming just one of three players from Traverse City Central to gain that recognition in the last 25 years. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound defenseman is in his fourth season with the Trojans and second as team captain, earning 44 goals and 49 assists for 93 points with 87 penalty minutes and 14 power play goals through 96 career games.
He is also no stranger to the NAHL, playing three games this season with the Brookings Blizzard at the NAHL Showcase in September. The offensive defenseman has had a knack for finding offense and the back of the net. Earlier this season, a goal shot from his knees through two defenseman after splitting two more skaters in a line change garnered national attention as a potential “goal of the year” candidate by USA Today High School Sports. The amount of points produced is unusual for a defenseman, but Froese picked up a lot of his play from growing up on both sides of the ice.
“I like to move the puck up the ice and skate it, but shooting has definitely been my stronger point in my hockey career. My dad was my coach growing up, and it’s kind of funny because if we were down by a goal or two, I would play forward. Other than that, I’ve just always been a defenseman. That’s what I’ve learned to be, and I wouldn’t trade it.”
“Andrew has the skill set that we think will make us very dangerous from the back end and on the attack,” said IceRays head coach John Becanic. “We believe that his presence will be felt from day one.”
The last name “Froese” is synonymous with defenseman Kyle Froese, who played for the IceRays during the 2013-14 season under Becanic and earned a scholarship with the University of Alaska Fairbanks in NCAA Division I competition while also serving as an alternate captain. During the spring that season, Andrew was introduced to the IceRays organization and was overcome by the fan base and the organization while visiting his older brother, but the decision to sign with the IceRays came independently of his brother, citing his future and experiences as the force behind the choice.
“He didn’t want it to be about him making the decision for me, but I’ve never heard bad things about him or anybody else, especially from him,” said Andrew. “He’s never said anything negative about the coaches, Corpus Christi, or the staff … I think just knowing the opportunity they’re willing to give you and how good the people are on the team in the community, I know I’m going somewhere great and hopefully I can do well.”
Andrew Froese is the first player this season to tender with the IceRays while playing in high school. He joins forward Dane Johnson and defenseman Conor Yawney of the Omaha AAA Lancers 18U (NAPHL), forwards Griffin Loughran and Adam Tretowicz of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 18U (T1EHL), goaltender Austin Park and forward Trevor St. Jean from the Ohio Blue Jackets (T1EHL), and forward Tommy Parrottino of the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 18U (T1EHL).
The IceRays begin their final two-game weekend set against at the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m. against the Amarillo Bulls. The IceRays come back to the American Bank Center on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7:11 p.m. to begin a two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes. Contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).