CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are proud to announce the signing of forward Dane Johnson from the Omaha AAA Lancers 18U of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) to a tender contract for the 2016-17 season. Johnson is the fourth signing for next season and the first in NAHL-affiliated leagues.
“I am extremely excited,” said Johnson, who signed his contract over the weekend. “I’ve heard a lot about the program down in Corpus Christi, and I know they have a lot to offer. They have an excellent fan base. Their standard is their best, and I plan to hold myself to that and just come to rink every day to get better.”
Johnson, 17, has appeared in 20 games with the Lancers in the 2015-16 season, recording 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points with 10 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward played five games last weekend at the NAPHL Showcase, earning five goals and four assists for nine points in his first four games from Friday through Sunday. Currently, he is tied for the team lead in goals and shares second place in points on the team while sitting tied for ninth in the NAPHL in goals and sharing 10th in scoring. The self-described two-way forward feels that he’s come a long way since joining the program three years ago.
“I’d have to give a lot of credit to Coach [Dave] Wilkie. I came to Omaha a few years ago, and each year I’ve been getting better and better. It’s a huge part to Coach Wilkie in developing me, and this year I have more confidence with the puck, which helps me make more plays.”
“Dane gives us some much needed size on the wing,” said IceRays head coach John Becanic. “He comes to us from the same program that produced Mason Krueger. We believe he will bring us the same honest effort we get from Mason game-in and game-out.”
Over his previous two seasons, Johnson combined 23 games with the Omaha AAA Lancers 16U squad, recording six goals and six assists for 12 points with two penalty minutes. The Overland Park, Kan., native also appeared in five games during the Dixon Cup Playoffs, recording two goals and two assists for four points on their way to a Dixon Cup Championship.
Though he does not know IceRays alternate captain Mason Krueger, Johnson looks forward to the opportunity to meet him and the rest of the IceRays at the NAHL level.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing at a higher level and meeting the guys,” said Johnson. “It’ll be a lot different, but I’m really excited about that.”
Johnson becomes the fourth player to sign a tender contract with the IceRays in three weeks. He joins forwards Griffin Loughran and Adam Tretowicz of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres U18 (T1EHL) as well as forward Trevor St. Jean from of the Ohio Blue Jackets (T1EHL).
The IceRays return home on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:11 p.m. against the Amarillo Bulls at the American Bank Center. 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).