CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays have signed defensemen Shane Kelly and Chaz Thomas from Victory Honda U18 (T1EHL) to tender contracts for the 2015-16 season. The IceRays now have five players tendered for the 2015-16 season including two forwards and three defensemen.
Kelly, 17, played 22 games with Victory Honda U18 this season, recording two goals and seven assists for nine points with 28 penalty minutes and a power play goal. Previous to that, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound defenseman played two seasons with Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep, playing a total of 49 games while recording six goals and 11 assists for 17 games with 90 penalty minutes and five power play goals.
“I’ve been playing hockey in Michigan all my life in small towns,” said Kelly, “and this year is my first big year. I’ve played high school hockey the last couple years but not much big exposure. I’m really looking forward to next year and having a lot of fans come out every night and watching.”
Thomas, 17, played 21 games with Victory Honda U18 this season, recording four goals and seven assists for 11 points with 12 penalty minutes and one power play goal. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound defenseman played one game with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League (USHL) on December 13. The Howell, Mich. native previously played 44 games for Compuware U16 of the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL) from 2012 through 2014, recording five goals and 11 assists for 16 points with four penalty minutes.
“I’m excited at the chance to play junior hockey,” said Thomas. “I’ve heard great things about the organization and that [Corpus Christi] is a wonderful place. My family was happy for me. They thought it was a good option for me and wanted to go ahead with the decision.”
Both players hail from the same team that current IceRays skaters Nathan Bryer and Logan Gestro played with during the 2013-14 season. Bryer and Gestro gained a wealth of exposure last season including a commitment to NCAA Division I program Mercyhurst University for Bryer. On top of the research Kelly has done on the IceRays and the Corpus Christi area, he stated some influence did come from Gestro.
“I’ve been in touch with Logan Gestro,” said Kelly. “His aunt teaches with my mom, so I got his number from her. I just texted him to see what it was like down there, and he had nothing but good things to say about it, so that impacted my decision as well.”
While Thomas did not speak to either Bryer or Gestro during the decision-making process, he did state that Kelly helped his choice while the opportunity to play in Corpus Christi was by chance.
“It’s purely a coincidence,” said Thomas. “I did get some influence from Shane. He had always said and heard good things about the team.”
Kelly is known for being a defensive defenseman with his size and composure, and he prefers to aid his forwards in scoring opportunities while taking shots when needed. Thomas, on the other hand, utilizes his speed to join the offensive rushes and quickly move the puck while smartly playing physical. They join defenseman Michael Bevilacqua (T1EHL), forward Landon Quinney (NAPHL), and forward Nicholas Bortolotto (NAPHL) on the IceRays tendered list for the 2015-16 season.
The IceRays return home to the American Bank Center on Friday, January 9 at 7:05 p.m. for the first of the final two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes at The Bank this season. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7 FM in-arena. Call the front office at 361-814-7825 for season and individual ticket details or check out the pricing and seating chart online at www.goicerays.com. Stay current with the latest team news by visiting www.goicerays.com. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), and Vine (@goicerays).