Two Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's hockey players from Minnesota have signed pro contracts with American Hockey League (AHL) teams.
Senior forward Chase Polacek of Edina joins the Peoria Rivermen, the top affliate of the St. Louis Blues.
Senior defenseman Jeff Foss of Moorhead will play for the Milwaukee Admirals, according to an RPI news release. The Admirals are the Nashville Predators' top minor league team.
Both assistant captains recently ended their college careers after playing in 154 games, the most in RPI hockey history.
“I am excited to join such a great organization in Peoria to start my professional career,” Polacek said. “Hard work and dedication by myself, my teammates and the coaches have allowed me this opportunity.
"The past four years have been the best of my life, playing with such tremendous teammates in front of the greatest fans in college hockey. It was such an honor to be able to play at RPI and wear the uniform that has so much history and tradition.”
Foss is equally thrilled about his next hockey stop. “It is a great opportunity to prove myself at a very high level,” he said. “Attending RPI was the best decision I have made in my life so far. The program is in good hands and I expect it to continue the national success we had. For me, getting a lot of playing time allowed me to gain valuable experience and develop while getting an education at a world-class institution.”
RPI made the NCAA tournament this season as an at-large team but lost 6-0 to North Dakota in its first game.
Said Engineers coach Seth Appert, “I am very happy to see both Chase and Jeff get these professional opportunities at the highest level of minor league hockey, just one step away from their dreams of playing in the National Hockey League (NHL). Both have meant a tremendous amount to our program as players and young men as they led us back to the NCAA Tournament. They will always be a huge part of the RPI hockey family and we look forward to watching their professional careers unfold.”
The past two seasons Polacek was the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker Award finalist. In four seasons he had 65 goals and 95 assists for 160 points to rank in the top 20 in school history in each category.
Polacek, who played for Holy Angels in high school, had 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) as a freshman and 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) as a sophomore. Polacek then had 52 points on 26 goals and 26 assists as a junior to earn all-america recognition in 2009-10. This season he tallied 21 goals, including an NCAA-best nine game-winning goals, and 27 assists for 48 points.
Foss, concluded his career with eight goals and 30 assists for 38 points. He had a career-high 14 points on three goals and 11 assists this sdeason, helping the Engineers to 20 wins and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995. He had nine points (two goals, seven assists) as a junior, 11 (two goals, nine assists) as a sophomore and four (one goal, three assists) as a freshman.
The Predators picked Foss in the sixth round, 166th overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft following his freshman season. Foss, who typically played against the opposing team’s best forwards while with the Engineers, could go head-to-head against Polacek on April 9 when the Admirals host the Rivermen.
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