HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears have re-signed forward Steve Whitney to a one-year, AHL contract for the 2020-21 season. Whitney, 29, spent the past two seasons with the Bears despite having his 2019-20 season shortened due to injury, but is a secret weapon for the club who can play up and down the lineup.
Below is a featured piece on Whitney from our player profile series detailing why he’s an important piece for the Chocolate and White:
The Hershey Bears have had a strong lineup the past couple seasons, but even the strongest lineups need a secret weapon. In this case, Steve Whitney has proven to be a “Swiss army knife” among Hershey skaters as a player who flies under the radar and plays well in all areas, giving the team a boost in any situation. Unfortunately, Whitney was limited to just 15 games in 2019-20 due to injury, and despite getting back into game action, it was unfortunately limited due to the cancellation of the 2019-20 AHL season. Whitney did collect two goals and two assists this season, including an important game-tying goal against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms that the Bears eventually won in a shootout back in mid-November. Whitney played five games for the South Carolina Stingrays after returning from injury, scoring five goals and four assists for the high flying Rays.
Whitney made the jump to Hershey in 2018-19 after spending the previous year with South Carolina, where he played 59 games and tallied 18 goals and 36 assists for 54 points. Whitney previously played for the Norfolk Admirals, both as an AHL team and as an ECHL team, and his older brother Joe Whitney played for the Bears in 2017-18. Whitney scored an important goal in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs that helped the Bears to a 3-2 series win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, opening the scoring for Hershey with his first playoff goal.
Whitney is a deceptive player, partly where the term of being a “Swiss army knife” comes from. He’s a bit smaller than most players but makes up for it with a very hardworking style that burns teams that underestimate him. Not only does he have a knack for scoring big goals with three game-winners in 2018-19, but he can handle responsibilities at both ends of the ice as a reliable defensive player, often called on to handle tasks in the defensive zone and still produce in Hershey’s bottom-six forwards with less ice time.
Whitney did not play for an extended period of time in 2019-20 after being injured in a November 16 game, later returning for just one game on March 6 in Hartford after his tear with the Stingrays. Whitney scored a hat trick back with the Stingrays on February 23 and made a massive statement that he was ready to return to the AHL with his play. Whitney was recognized for his play by being named the ECHL Player of the Week for his performance.
That’s 3 in one night for Whitney!! pic.twitter.com/F4BWU1qK17
— SC Stingrays (@SCStingrays) February 23, 2020
It’s great for the Bears to retain Whitney, as he’s proven over two seasons that he’s a reliable depth forward with a proven ability to score goals and provide solid play. With the Bears set to have another solid roster, both Hershey or South Carolina would benefit from having Whitney in the lineup, and the 29-year-old will be an excellent addition to the Bears’ lineup.
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