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CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays, proud members of the North American Hockey League, have signed defenseman Coltan Wilkie of the Omaha AAA Lancers 16U in the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) to a tender contract for the 2017-18 season.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Wilkie on the tender signing. “[Corpus Christi] is a good place. I really like the city, and the program the IceRays have there is great for me and the development of my hockey career down the road so I can  get to the highest place I can play.”

Wilkie, 16, has appeared in 17 games with the Omaha AAA Lancers 16U team this season, recording 11 goals and 37 assists for 48 points with 16 penalty minutes and two power play goals. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound defenseman leads the NAPHL in assists and sits second in points among all players including forwards and defensemen. He was selected to the NAPHL 16U All-Star Game in early December and was named NAPHL Alex Learning Peak Performer for 16U Defensemen in September, October and December. Wilkie has points in 14 of his first 17 games with 13 of those contests as multi-point games.

The Omaha, Neb., native has garnered attention already in his short stint in the NAPHL from higher levels. Wilkie earned a commitment to Colorado College, a member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), for the fall of 2019 back on November 29 after just 13 games with the Lancers. The last name Wilkie also brings weight as the son of David Wilkie, a former NHL defenseman and now Head Coach of the AAA Lancers program, and the brother of Christopher Wilkie, a sixth-round draft pick by the Florida Panthers and now second-year forward at the University of North Dakota.

Coupled with a long history with the Omaha AAA Lancers program, Coltan Wilkie has benefitted from a large pool of knowledge to help develop his game to this point and earn opportunities at the next level.

“I’ve grown up around the program, and I’ve known all the guys who have come through like Chris Wilkie, Wade Allison, and all those guys. They have given me some knowledge to help me learn about the game even more. It’s just a great program, and they expect you to work as hard as you can. Coach Wilkie is a great coach with a tremendous hockey IQ and knows how to play the field to get the right guys out there at the right moments to have the best chances to win.

“Coltan is an extremely high prospect, and we feel fortunate and excited about being able to tender him,” said IceRays head coach Brad Flynn. He has high-end potential already with a commitment to Colorado College, he’s a legitimate USHL prospect, and if we’re fortunate enough to have him next year, he’ll bring a great hockey sense as a solid two-way defenseman that can both move the puck and be sound defensively. Regardless of his age, we’re excited about his hockey sense, compete level and skating ability. He has a big future ahead of him.”

Wilkie becomes the fourth player to be tendered by the IceRays for the 2017-18 season, joining Christian Dahl St. Louis AAA Selects (NAPHL), goaltender Chad Veltri of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18 (T1EHL) and defenseman Trevor Wilhelm of the St. Louis Jr. Blues (NA3HL) on the 2017-18 protected list. There’s still plenty of season left ahead for WIlkie, and he hopes not only to help his team this season but also prepare for the future.

“I want to finish in the top of the scoring for the NAPHL and help lead my team to a national championship,” said Wilkie. “That’s my biggest goal. Our program hasn’t won one of those yet so that would be a really big deal. I also want to get better so I have the greatest opportunity to play at the next level.”

The IceRays return to action on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7:05 p.m. when they begin a two-game set from the American Bank Center against the Amarillo Bulls. Season memberships for the 2016-17 season are still available with full and partial season plans at discounted rates. Reserve yours by contacting the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Snapchat (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).