BROOKS, AB (September 22, 2015) – The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are pleased to announce the acquisition of 1996-born defenceman and University of Vermont commit Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) from the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
O’Connor, 19, comes to the Bandits after two years playing for Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut, part of the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association.
Last season, the 6’3”, 215lb defenceman was the team’s highest-scoring defenceman, fifth-highest overall scorer, and fourth-highest overall goal scorer with 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 28 games. The year prior, O’Connor registered 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 26 games, ranking eighth on the team and second among defencemen.
“Joe will be an integral part of our hockey team, adding size and offence to our back end,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “We had the opportunity to see him play last season with Westminster and again in the spring at the Pre-Draft in Boston.”
“We are more than happy to work with him prior to his collegiate career.”
O’Connor committed to Vermont in December of 2013, in his first season at Westminster. Located in Burlington, Vermont, the Catamounts compete in the NCAA’s Division I Hockey East conference, under 12th year head coach Kevin Sneddon. Former Bandit defenceman Chris Muscoby and forward Anthony Petruzzelli feature on the current Vermont roster.
“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Brooks Bandits organization,” said O’Connor. “It looks like a great place to play, and I can’t wait to get the season going.”
O’Connor was a ninth round selection of the Sioux Falls Stampede in the 2015 USHL Entry Draft, and played in three of the team’s pre-season games, recording four shots on goal. He becomes the ninth player on the 2015-16 Bandits roster committed to an NCAA Division I postsecondary institution.
He is expected to join the Bandits in time for the team’s next two games, on the road this coming weekend in Fort McMurray on Friday, and in Bonnyville on Saturday.
The Bandits’ next home game is Friday, October 9th when Brooks hosts the Calgary Mustangs at 7:00 PM at the Centennial Regional Arena. Tickets are available by phone at (403) 501-0122, online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, or in-person at the Bandits’ office in the CRA.