WICHITA, KS- The Thunder today announced that they have re-signed defenseman Tyler Hanchuck for the upcoming season.
A third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens (79th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Hanchuck joined Wichita in January from the ECHL, where he split time with the Stockton Thunder and Long Beach Ice Dogs. In 33 Thunder games, Hanchuck notched four points and 116 penalty minutes. He added an assist and two goals, including a game-winner, in six postseason games.
“Tyler is another player who provides tremendous leadership both on and off the ice, while adding a physical presence to our blueline”, said Thunder head coach Mark French.
Following a five-year junior career in the Ontario Hockey League, Hanchuck turned pro in 2003 with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Syracuse Crunch. In 2004, he joined the CHL’s Topeka Tarantulas, picking up nine assists, 134 penalty minutes and appearing in all 60 games. Hanchuck first made himself known to Thunder fans for fighting Thunder tough guy Derek Parker seven times during that season.
Hanchuck played 60 games for the ECHL’s Reading Royals in 2005-06 notching career-highs with four goals, 14 assists, 18 points and 68 games played. The sixth-year pro out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, has also enjoyed three stints in the top-level AHL.
In 218 career games, the 6-3, 235-pound Hanchuck has amassed seven goals, 29 assists and 439 penalty minutes. He would have to miss two games this season to be eligible as a non-veteran player for the 2008-09 CHL season. CHL teams can carry only four roster players with more than 280 pro games experience. Hanchuck joins forwards Bruce Richardson, Tyler Liebel and Travis Clayton as the first four signings of the 2007-08 season.