WICHITA, KS – Lack of toughness was a significant issue for the Wichita Thunder last year, but it will likely not be this coming season.
The team announced this morning they have signed former Binghamton (now Belleville) Senators defenseman Guillaume (Guy) Lepine.
The 30-year-old Lepine spent the last three years with the Senators’ triple-A club and will be making a move to Wichita, looking to get into coaching. Head coach Malcolm Cameron says Lepine will work with the defense during the season and will share some of the video and organizational duties that come with the job of a head coach at the double-A level.
“I’m looking forward to the new challenge in Wichita,” commented Lepine. “I’m very excited to be working as a player/assistant coach and learning from Coach Cameron. I can’t wait to get started.”
Lepine broke into the minor league ranks with the Elmira Jackals in the 2008-09 season and racked up 291 penalty minutes in 132 games with the club. From there, he went over to England to play in the EIHL with the Nottingham Panthers and racked up 528 penalty minutes in 149 games spread out over three seasons.
After the stint overseas, Lepine returned state-side and bounced back and forth between the American Hockey League and ECHL. Last season was Lepine’s worst as a defenseman, plus-minus wise, getting a minus-21 rating in 54 games.
For his career, Lepine has played in 531 games, scored 24 goals, added 86 assists and compiled 1300 PIMs.
“Guillaume is a player that leads by example, plays tough and is of high character,” stated Cameron. “His AHL experience will be beneficial for our players that are aspiring to move up. He has a great stick, blocks shots and stands up for his teammates, which was what we were looking for in a veteran player. He will have an opportunity to share his wisdom with our young defense in the role of player/assistant coach.”
Lepine joins Joel Rumpel and fifteen others on the Thunder roster for training camp. Cameron says there will be additional signings announced and up to five Edmonton Oilers prospects will be in Thunder uniforms this season. Additionally, 14 Thunder camp signees will attend camps in the American Hockey League.
For the latest list of player signings across the ECHL, visit our 2017 ECHL Transactions page!