Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stockton Thunder Re-Sign Steve Vanoosten


07/21/2010 9:30 AM -
Free agent blueliner is third member returning from 09-10 Conference Finalist

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MORE: Steve Vanoosten career statistics
VIDEO: Matt Thomas discusses Steve Vanoosten re-signing


STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers, and head coach Matt Thomas announced today that the team has re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Steve Vanoosten (Van-OO-stehn). Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Steve progressed really well in his first pro season and we're eager to see what he can do in continuing to develop as a solid, two-way defenseman," said Thomas. "I thought he was, arguably, one of the best players on the ice for us consistently throughout the playoffs. He was solid in shutting down the other team's top units and was huge on our power-play. The sky's the limit for him in terms of what he's capable of doing."

Steve Vanoosten's highlight game was a 3-assist effort in Game 4 of the National Conference Final against the Idaho Steelheads.
(photo by Sean Blair)

Vanoosten, 25, returns for his second season in a Thunder uniform after suiting up in 52 games for the club last year, scoring 19 points (3g-16a) and adding a +6 rating from the blueline.

His scoring output improved into the Kelly Cup Playoffs, when he registered seven points (2g-5a) and two power-play goals in 15 games, helping guide the Thunder to their first ever appearance in the Conference Finals.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound blueliner was originally signed by the Thunder as a free agent on August 4, 2009 and posted a career-high three points (assists) in the playoffs, against the Idaho Steelheads on May 7 (Game 4, National Conference Final).

Vanoosten, a native of Langley, B.C., previously spent four years (2005-09) of his college hockey career at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA) where he skated in 145 career games, scoring 20 points (3g-17a) while amassing 93 penalty minutes.

He recorded a college career-high seven points (1g-6a) and added 22 penalty minutes in 38 games as a 2006-07 sophomore.

"Definitely, the excitement is high to come back this next season," said Vanoosten. "We finished on a good note last year by making it far in the playoffs and I'm excited to see what our team can do in building off it. Coming back to the city of Stockton is exciting because of the fan support and it was a pleasant surprise to see how the game has grown in California. I'm expecting to pick up where I left off last season, contribute with a growing role, and help our team make another great run together."

The contract signing marks the third player to return from last season's Thunder roster, joining captain and center Craig Valette and defenseman Daryl Marcoux.

OPENING NIGHT AND TICKET INFORMATION
Opening Night is Friday, Oct. 15, when the Thunder opens the 2010-11 regular season at home against the Ontario Reign, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena.

The Thunder are freezing Season Ticket Prices for the 2010-11 season, which are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (209) 373-1500 or by visiting http://www.stocktonthunder.com/. Thunder Season Ticket Holders enjoy the highest-demanded seating locations in Stockton Arena, preferred parking options, benefits including admission to Season Ticket Holder-only events, discount opportunities on Thunder merchandise, a free e-newsletter, an exclusive gift, admission to the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs and more. Information on individual and group tickets will be announced soon.

A two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the fifth consecutive season in 2009-10. Season Tickets and mini-plans for 2010-11 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit http://www.stocktonthunder.com/.

-Written by StocktonThunder.com-

*reprinted by OilersJambalaya.com with permission from the Stockton Thunder Hockey Club*

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