Niagara Gazette — Two members of the Niagara University 2013-14 hockey team are turning pro.
The athletics department announced Thursday that defensemen Kevin Ryan and Matt Williams signed deals with minor league teams two levels below the National Hockey League.
Ryan inked his deal with the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League, an affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins.
Williams, meanwhile, signed and debuted Thursday with the Brampton Beast of the Central Hockey League. He had one shot on goal but no points in the Beast’s 2-1 win over Rapid City. The Beast is affiliated with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
A native of Kitchener, Ont., Williams recently completed his senior year on the NU hockey team, finishing his career with eight goals and 34 assists in 128 games. He scored three of those goals this past season, a career-high for goals in a season. His 13 assists were also a personal best for a single season.
Ryan, meanwhile, will be joined on the blue line with another former Purple Eagle, Scott Langdon, who played with Niagara from 2005 through 2008. A Western New York native who hails from Eden, Ryan appeared in 147 games for Niagara, including 132 consecutive starts. He scored seven goals and 50 assists in his four years of college hockey. He finished his Niagara career fifth on the list of all-time scoring defensemen for the program.
He was also a standout in the classroom, earning AHA All-Academic honors on three separate occasions. A double major in business and biology, Ryan finished his undergraduate studies with a 4.067 grade point average and will complete his masters in finance in May.