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Thursday, September 2, 2010

From One Ben To The Other / Stockton Thunder Change Equipment Managers / #StkThunder

09/01/2010 1:28 PM -

Ben Laing (left), who is taking a post in the American Hockey League, helps goaltender Bryan Pitton during Game 3 of the 2010 National Conference Final. (photo by George Steckler)

Laing was recently named 2009-10 ECHL Equipment Manager of the Year; Calkins brings American Hockey League and college experience

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks, and head coach Matt Thomas announced today that Ben Laing has been named head equipment manager for the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, and Ben Calkins has been named new head equipment manager of the Thunder.

Calkins, 23, succeeds Laing and is the third equipment manager in Thunder history, joining the club after serving SUNY Plattsburgh (NCAA) as Student Equipment Manager for five seasons (2005-10).

"Ben Laing's promotion is very well deserved and it embodies what our league is all about in regards to career advancement," said Thomas. "He is one of the youngest, top notch equipment managers in our game and has a bright future ahead of him. We're looking forward to Ben Calkins' contributions to our hockey staff. He comes highly recommended from close contacts in the NHL circle and his experience at numerous levels will be valuable in making a seamless transition."

Ben Calkins
The native of Webster, N.Y. will handle management of all day-to-day equipment-related duties of the Thunder dressing room, including maintenance and inventory preservation of team supplies while assisting the hockey operations department with administrative duties and supervision of Thunder game day equipment staff.

Calkins, who has served at both the professional and college level, also garnered experience in the American Hockey League as an Equipment Assistant for the Rochester Americans for seven years (1998-2005).

He was a double-major at SUNY Plattsburgh, receiving his Bachelor of Science degrees in Business and Supply Chain Management in May 2010.

Laing, 27, was named Thunder head equipment manager on Aug. 27, 2009 and earned the ECHL Equipment Manager of the Year award last week on Aug. 6 after completing his second year of service at the professional level, originally breaking into the ECHL with Fresno in 2008-09.

He will administer all equipment related duties for Portland and assist their NHL affiliate, the Buffalo Sabres, with equipment services during the NHL training camp period.

"I would like to thank the entire Stockton Thunder organization for an amazing year," said Laing. "I will never forget the time I spent here. Matt Thomas deserves many thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve on his staff. Stockton is a truly a first class organization and I wish everyone the best in the future."

"I would like to thank Dan Chapman, Matt Thomas, Matt O'Dette and the Thunder organization for granting the opportunity for me to take the next step in my career," said Calkins. "It's an honor to follow in Ben Laing's footsteps and his hard work is an inspiration for the example he set. I'm looking forward to helping serve a first rate team like the Thunder, that has embraced the support of its community and strives to be competitive every year."


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 can be purchased by calling (209) 373-1500 or by visiting 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

-Written by the Stockton Thunder-

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