Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elmira Jackals Announce Signing of Ben Wright

Well it appears the speculation wasn't far off the mark - the ECHL's Elmira Jackals have announced the signing of Ben Wright.  You can read the press release here.

You win some, you lose some.


Eric said...

Well, not everyone is cut-out to play CIS Hockey or he wants a paycheck (albeit small) instead.

I would place Ben at 4-5 on the depth chart behind Stamler, Harty, Gallant, Shutron and Hepditch and Corrcoran on some days. Maybe he didn't want to be that low on the ladder.

He can always change his mind and come back at Christmas.

The 'D' will have stay healthy or we could have some problems as the depth is low now.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing for UNB. On the one hand, as mentioined above, I too wish there was a little more depth on UNB's "D" and Wright would have certainly added that (and then some). On the other hand, as many have eluded to and certainly from what I saw, he didn't seem to be at his best. Granted, it's only exhibition hockey but he just looked like he was going through the motions when on the ice and really didn't seem to be enjoying himself. As good as he is supposed to be, if he doesn't want to be here, then I could see that hurting the team as a whole if he were to return.

David Kilfoil said...

Wright is young ... he might see the error of his ways, and if he doesn't get called up to the AHL, he might want to reconsider and rejoin UNB at Christmas.

On the depth side, UNB graduated three d-men (Friesen, Bowman, DaCosta) from last year and Gardiner recruited three replacements, which is now two. DaCosta lost his spot to Aldred late in the year, and Alex is still here (albeit injured). So that means only Hepditch remains as spare-defenceman-who-also-plays-forward.

I agree a little more depth would be optimal, but not a huge hurdle if the defence can stay healthy.

What is more frustrating, and it is the nature of recruiting, is which potential d-men did Gardiner pass over in order to hold that spot for Wright?

blair said...

Wright would have most likley been one of the bests d-man on the team. If i were Gardiner i would hold a spot for him as long as Wright wants... But i wouldn't cout it out he called up to the AHL before long....

University hockey fan said...

I don't think coaches pinpoint one guy at the exclusion of others when recruiting. You see what you need and then pursue to fill those gaps. Odds are you don't get everybody you pursue and that's why you target as many as you can. Wright might not be that great a student and probably sees hockey as his future, thus, his decision to play pro. Only he knows for sure so while people may think he's making an error not playing at UNB, that might be a presumption that is unfair to make without knowing Wright's reasoning. And who knows, he may reconsider if things don't work out.

Bill Hunt said...

With all due respect, and while noting that this is a UNB fan site, let's look at the other side of the coin, from Ben Wright's perspective.
He's a 21-year-old kid who still harbours the pro hockey dream. He was a fourth round NHL draft pick not very long ago. Kids are still making the NHL out of that draft and no doubt, with a hockey player's ego, he believes he's better than some of them.
It's very arrogant, not to mention condescending to suggest that Wright "may see the error of his ways."
As much as we all enjoy the CIS brand of hockey, it's not for every kid. For a kid who still harbours the pro dream, it's a long way off the beaten path, even though that's changing somewhat with Joel Ward and Darryl Boyce and others blazing a bit of a trail.
Eric! Fourth or fifth on the depth chart? Based on what? One giveaway in the first exhibition game of the year against STU? Given time to get acclimatized, he would have been one or two on that blueline.

David Kilfoil said...

Well to better define why I see Wright's move as an "error", if he doesn't come back to UNB (or another school) at Christmas, he will be forgoing four years of free tuition, books and fees, covered by the WHL, plus whatever money his junior team offered to "top up" his educational package. That's at minimum. Then there's the athletic scholarship money he might get from UNB, and if he was a scholar, potential academic scholarships.

I don't know Wright's situation, but there have been or are players at UNB with $15,000 per year educational packages, essentially a "full ride". Times four years that is $60,000 to walk away from by playing just one year in the "Coast".

I will agree that if school is not Wright's thing, and being a fourth rounder, pro hockey might seem like the better route to him. But how many days did he last in the Norfolk AHL camp before getting cut? It seems to me that doesn't bode well for his future.

Finally if many posters on here come off sounding parochial, it is because we value the importance of a university education in post-hockey life, you know, the real world. To see someone walk away from an almost-fee education is heartbreaking, to be honest.

E said...

It's just my opinion Bill. I agree - he could have/may become an impact defenceman, or not. I realize that players need to acclimatized, but we have also seen players who never do.

I side with David on this discussion.

Bill Hunt said...

I absolutely agree on the value of an education, and the fact that he's essentially foregoing a free ride may be a decision he lives to regret.
But university is not for everybody either. I'm sure that's a debate that the boy -- and he's still a boy -- had with his parents/agent/advisors before he left.
You shouldn't read too much into an early AHL cut either. Pro hockey can be politics at its finest. If they're committed to a certain number of contracts, as often happens at the NHL/AHL level, a kid can get squeezed out simply because they have no investment in him. I suspect that might be what happened here, although of course, I don't know for sure.
And maybe he tried it here and found Fredericton's reputation for being a "small town that thinks it's a city" as a friend of mine suggests, and didn't like it. Maybe he was overwhelmed by school and decided to go back to an environment he knows better.
There could be a thousand reasons, real or manufactured in his own head.
Just wish the boy luck and move on.