CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays, proud members of the North American Hockey League, have signed forward Bud Winter of the St. Louis AAA Blues U18 in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL) to a tender contract for the 2017-18 season.
“I’m very excited,” said Winter on the signing. “I’ve been talking to the coaches since their pre-draft camp in St. Louis over the summer. I’ve talked with Coach Flynn and [Director of Scouting] Mike Mondoux after that camp just growing my relationship with them and talked with them throughout the season a little bit. They’re just great guys, and I’m very excited to be part of the program.”
William “Bud” Winter, 17, has appeared in 21 games with the St. Louis AAA Blues U18, recording 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points with 12 penalty minutes, three power play goals and one shorthanded goal. He leads the team in all major scoring categories while sitting tied for ninth in the T1EHL in goals and tied for 20th in points. The Sunset Hills, Mizz., native is also a senior at Christian Brothers College High School, where he’s the captain of the varsity program and a four-year program member along with Trevor Wilhelm, who signed a tender with the IceRays on Nov. 15, 2016.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward garnered the team’s attention at the 2016 IceRays Pre-Draft Camp in St. Louis, Mizz., where he attended with other St. Louis area players including Wilhelm. He had the opportunity to not only meet but play with some of the current IceRays skating at that camp, and that gave him perspective of what it’s like to play at the NAHL level and how he’d need to improve to make that next step. On top of that, it proved to be the opportunity Winter needed to earn the attention of a NAHL organization and gain the necessary exposure.
“That camp really did help. I don’t know if I would have ventured out or if they would’ve even seen me if it wasn’t for that and getting the first eye on me there. It was just great for them to be able to come here. I know the organization has had a lot of success with guys from St. Louis, and I thought it was good for just St. Louis hockey in general to get a lot of exposure for junior hockey.”
“We first saw Bud at our Pre-Draft Camp in St. Louis, and he performed extremely well,” said IceRays head coach Brad Flynn. “He’s proven throughout the year that he has high potential. He’s a big, strong power forward that has untapped offensive potential. Bud is also dynamic, meaning he can play a ‘big man’s game’ while having good skill as evidenced from playing the point on the power play in St. Louis. He has high hockey sense, a good compete level and size for his age. That translates to a marquee player for us for the years to come.”
Winter becomes the fifth player to be tendered by the IceRays for the 2017-18 season, joining this morning’s signing Chris Wilkie of the Omaha AAA Lancers (NAPHL), defenseman Christian Dahl of the St. Louis AAA Selects (NAPHL), goaltender Chad Veltri of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18 (T1EHL) and Wilhelm of the St. Louis Jr. Blues (NA3HL) on the 2017-18 protected list. There’s still some work to do in the midst of both the T1EHL and varsity hockey season, but Winter is looking forward to the opportunity ahead to continue to prove his talent to the IceRays.
“I’m just really excited to go there to produce and show what the coaches what I have,” said Winter. “Be a big body, use my speed, size and skill to help the team win.”
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).