WICHITA, Kan. – That collective sigh you hear from south-central Kansas is Thunder fans exhaling after it was announced Friday afternoon that the team’s leading scorer from the 2017-18 campaign, Ralph Cuddemi, has re-signed.
The 25-year-old from Concord, Ontario was acquired in a trade with the Fort Wayne Komets last November and went on to have a terrific season. Cuddemi finished tied for fifth in the ECHL for goals (33) and 13th overall in points with 64.
Cuddemi’s offensive output increased as the 2017-18 season went along. Prior to the ECHL All-Star Break, he had five multi-point games in a Thunder uniform. After that point, he added 13 more multi-point games in the regular season’s final , including a stretch where he collected ten points (4G, 6A) in a five-game period from February 20-27.
For his outstanding season, he was named the team’s Most Valuable Player and also won the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission’s Pro Athlete of the Year.
“I’m excited to be returning to Wichita to play in front of the best fans in the ECHL,” Cuddemi said. “Coach Cameron has assembled a Kelly Cup contending team and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.”
“Ralph had a tremendous season with us and we look forward to his building on that success this upcoming year,” commented Head Coach Malcolm Cameron. “He’s an elite scorer at this level, but also does the little things that coaches and teammates admire. He’s well respected in the locker room and we look for him to take on a leadership role this season.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward enters his third full year as a pro after appearing in nine games for the Florida Everblades in 2015-16. During Cuddemi’s first full rookie season, he recorded 52 points (27G, 25A) in 64 games for the Utah Grizzlies in 2016-17. In 143 career ECHL regular-season games, Cuddemi has piled up 121 points (62G, 59A).
With the addition of Cuddemi to the Thunder, they now have 11 players announced under contract for the 2018-19 season; seven forwards and four defensemen.
Stay caught up on all the signings and transactions from across the ECHL with our 2018 Transactions page. You can check that out, here: https://thesinbin.net/2018-echl-transactions/.