Wichita, KS (August 16th) - The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators and powered by Toyota, addressed the blue line today with the signing of defenseman James Melindy for the 2016-17 season.
"When I started the recruiting process, I wanted to go with a younger team," said Head Coach Malcolm Cameron. "James, although experienced, is still a young man with lots of upside. He has good size and is a team-first player. With him going to the Finals last year, he knows what it takes to be successful in the ECHL and we expect that to rub off on the other new players."
Melindy, 22, played 52 games last season for the Rapid City Rush before being sent by the Arizona Coyotes to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He finished the season with the Wheeling Nailers, appearing in 16 games during the regular season and 21 games during Wheeling's postseason run to the Kelly Cup Finals.
A native of Goulds, Newfoundland, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound blueliner was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the third round (#88) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He spent his rookie season with the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates in 2013-14, recording two goals in 38 games. Last season was his best as a pro, combining for 23 points (6g, 17a) in 68 games with the Rapid City and Wheeling.
"I'm extremely excited to be joining The Wichita Thunder," stated Melindy. "I'd been in contact with Coach Cameron from the beginning of summer when I got home and he sold me on coming to Wichita. I think with the team that he is assembling and his knowledge for the game accompanied with his experience, we'll be a very fun team to watch this season. His track record of moving players on to the next level and having winning teams speak for themselves. I can't wait to get to Wichita and get the season started. I'm looking forward to seeing all the Thunder fans come support our team and hopefully make it a very long season."
Prior to turning pro, Melindy played three seasons for the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats where he played in 168 career games. He was named an alternate captain during the 2012-13 season and finished with 24 points (4g, 20a) to go along with 90 penalty minutes. He was ranked #63 among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau rankings.
Melindy becomes the 10th player added to the preseason roster. He joins Louick Marcotte, Mitch Holmberg, Ian Lowe, Alexis Loiseau, Gerrad Grant, Landon Oslanski, Dalton Reum, Vincent Arseneau and Drew Owsley as players who have been announced.
The Thunder kicks off their 25th Anniversary season on Saturday, October 15th against the Tulsa Oilers. Season tickets are on sale now. Place a $25 deposit for up to four seats and pay it off in 14 payments. Contact a Thunder representative at the office today.
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