CORPUS CHRISTI, TX- The Corpus Christi IceRays Organization is pleased to announce that forward Michael Benedict, who led the team in goals this past season, has committed to play for the Niagara University Purple Eagles (Atlantic Hockey, DI). The 20-year old will begin his collegiate career in the fall.
“On behalf of the IceRays organization, we would like to congratulate Michael and wish him the best in his future hockey endeavors. Michael is a nice young man and will forever be remembered as an IceRay," General Manager Pat Dunn announced.
The Eden, NY native will not be far from home as the Niagara campus in Lewiston, NY is roughly an hour away; a factor which was an added benefit for Benedict. “I’m so thrilled to make this decision,” said Benedict. “To have it be so close to home after spending the past two years far away is a very big deal for me.”
This past season, Benedict’s second in the NAHL, was his most successful. Featured on the top line for the majority of the season, he led the team in goals with 24 and was second in points with 44. He was the team’s iron man as well for being the only player to play in all 58 games.
Benedict becomes the third college commitment for Corpus Christi joining Colton Saucerman (UMass-Lowell) and Mychal Monteith (Mercyhurst, 2012).
Assistant coach Justin Quenneville recognized Benedict’s contributions and dedication to improving his game.
"Mike is well deserving of this opportunity and I know he will excel at the next level. He was a leader for us on and off the ice, but his work ethic and character is what caught my eye the most,” said Quenneville. “On top of being a huge offensive producer for us, his defensive game was counted on time after time. He came to work every night for us, played injured some games, won big draws for us, scored big goals when we needed them and did the little things that was asked of him day in day out.”
Quenneville continued, “Losing Mike is a huge hole for us to fill, however our goal is to help get these young men on to the next level. This is a great accomplishment for Mike and his family. We are all proud of him and I know that he will continue to be successful on and off the ice at Niagara just like he was here."
For Benedict, this is just the first step in realizing his dream. “The coaching staff told me that they’ve had some very good forwards graduate recently and that they would like me to step up into a role,” he added. “The job is there for the taking.”
In addition to receiving the IceRays’ Player of the Year award following the season, Benedict received the team’s Community Service award for his commitment in being active in the community.
Niagara University is one of 12 teams competing in the Atlantic Hockey Association at the NCAA Division I level. For more information on the school, visit http://www.purpleeagles.com/sports/mhockey/
Corpus Christi has concluded the 2010-11 season and is now in the off-season preparing for the NAHL draft, camps, and molding a new team for the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign. Over the summer, be sure to check out what the team is doing off the ice in preparations for next season. The team is always looking for new business and corporate partnerships. For more information call the Rays’ front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.
“THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”