WICHITA, Kan. – The wait for significant help from the American Hockey League is over for the Wichita Thunder. Saturday, the Wichita Thunder announced the Toronto Marlies have assigned an additional four players to the Thunder roster, now that the Marlies’ season is over.
“I’m really excited to have these guys on board for the playoff run,” said Thunder Head Coach Bruce Ramsay. “Each of these players had a high-level of success in the American Hockey League this season and they are excited to join our group.”
The Thunder’s primary player development partner remains the Edmonton Oilers, but ECHL rules allow for a primary and a player assignment agreement. Currently, defenseman Dean Stewart is with the Bakersfield Condors for their Pacific Division playoff run, but is expected to be back once the Condors’ run is over. It remains unlikely Vincent Desharnais joins Stewart on the flight back to Wichita.
In the latest wave of players to come from Toronto, the Thunder receive forwards Gordie Green, Jeremy McKenna, Bobby McMann, defensemen Noel Hoefenmayer. In late April, the Thunder received Riley McCourt and netminder Ian Scott.
Green returns to Wichita, having played in 14 games in Toronto, where registered two points (1G, 1A) and was a minus-7. During his first stint with Wichita, he was paired with Matteo Gennaro and registered 13 points (5G, 8A) in 12 games. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native recently completed a four-year career at Miami University. He’s coming off of his best year with the Redhawks, notching career-highs in points (36) and assists (22) while also being named as team captain. The 5-foot-8, 172-pound forward finished with 115 points (48G, 67A) in 145 career games and was named to the NCHC Second All-Star Team.
McKenna comes back to Wichita, with 13 points (5G, 8A) in 28 games played with Toronto. During his first stint with the Thunder, he registered 11 points (4G, 7A) and a plus-4 in 13 games. A native of Canmore, Alberta, the 5-foot-10, 174-pound forward led Moncton last season with 40 goals and was third in the league in that category. He recorded at least 70 points in three straight seasons, notching a career-high 82 last year (40G, 42A). Overall, he piled up 282 points (137G, 145A) in 259 career games. McKenna served as an alternate captain for three straight years as well.
McMann returns to the Air Capital with slightly more AHL game experience than Green, with two goals and two assists in the columns. The rookie forward played in 21 games and was a minus-10. Before his recall to Toronto, he put together an excellent rookie campaign, with 16 points (5G, 11A) in 15 games and a +13. The Wainwright, Alberta native, served as team captain and was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award in the 2019-20 season. He recorded a team-high 20 points (10G, 10A) in 34 games. He finished his career with 92 points (37G, 55A) in 145 games for the Raiders. In 2018-19, he was named to the ECAC Third All-Star Team.
On the blueline, Riley McCourt has been assigned to the Thunder. McCourt, an offensive defenseman, has played in eight games with the Marlies this year, collecting an assist and registering a minus-5. In seven games with Wichita, McCourt has an assist and is a minus-2. Prior to turning pro, he played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Flint Spitfires. McCourt’s best years came in his fourth and his over-age year when he racked up 94 points (24G, 70A) in 110 games. Overall, in 175 games, he piled up 117 points. McCourt’s dad, Mike, was a teammate with Ramsay during their playing days.
Coming back to Wichita is Noel Hoefenmayer after playing 17 games on the Marlies blueline, putting up six points (2G, 4A) and a minus-2. Before going to the AHL, he played in 16 games with the Thunder, posting seven points (2G, 5A,) a minus-2, and ran the second power-play unit for the Thunder. A native of North York, Ontario, the 6-foot, 192-pound defenseman was a fourth-round draft pick (#108 overall) of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He had an outstanding career with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s where he was named the 2019-20’s CHL (Canadian Hockey League) Defenseman of the Year, OHL First All-Star Team, OHL Most Outstanding Defenseman (Max Kaminsky Trophy), and OHL Most Points by a Defenseman. Hoefenmayer racked up 82 points (26G, 56A) in 58 games. He served as an alternate captain for the past two seasons. Overall, he tallied 222 points (65G, 157A) in 298 games, finished with a plus-59 (was a plus-97 in his final two OHL seasons), and also recorded 33 points (12g, 21a) in 33 playoff games.
In net, rookie Ian Scott comes to Wichita after a very successful career in the Western Hockey League. In 175 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, he went 87-64-14, with a 2.90 goals against average, a .905 save percentage, and 11 shutouts. In the playoffs, he was even better, going 19-8-3, with a 2.32 goals against average with five shutouts in 31 WHL playoff games. Scott was supposed to get five games in Wichita to qualify for the playoff roster, however, the ice shenanigans last Sunday afternoon appear to have thwarted that opportunity for him.
The Thunder return to action tonight at 6:30 pm CT when they play the Fort Wayne Komets. Matthew Will and I will break down the news on The Sin Bin pregame show, beginning at 6:00 pm CT on The Sin Bin app!