RALEIGH, NC (August 1, 2000) – Jason Karmanos, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes, announced today the team has signed centers Byron Ritchie and Greg Koehler and right wing Shane Willis. As per club policy, no terms were released.
“We are pleased to announce these signings,” said Karmanos. “All three of these players have promising futures and will come to camp with a chance to make our NHL roster this season.”
Ritchie (5’10”, 190 lbs.) completed his fourth season of professional hockey last year, splitting the season between the Hurricanes and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the International Hockey League (IHL). The 23-year-old Burnaby, British Columbia native totaled two points (0g, 2a) in 26 games for the Hurricanes before being assigned to Cincinnati on January 23. In 34 games for the Cyclones, Ritchie, 23, totaled 21 points (8g, 13a) and 81 penalty minutes. In the postseason for Cincinnati, Ritchie ranked tied for fourth among Cyclones in playoff scoring with seven points (1g, 6a) in 10 postseason games and led the club with 32 penalty minutes. Drafted by the franchise with the team’s sixth pick (165th overall) in the seventh round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Ritchie has totaled two points (0g, 2a) in 29 games over two NHL seasons with the Hurricanes.
Willis (6’0’’, 185 lbs.) completed his third season of professional hockey in 1999-2000, spending the majority of the season with Cincinnati and appearing in two games for the Hurricanes. Willis, who was drafted by Carolina in the fourth round (88th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, totaled a team-best 35 goals for Cincinnati last season, which ranked fourth best for goals in the IHL. Willis, 23, was named to 2000 IHL All-Star Game, scoring a second period goal and winning the Hardest Shot Competition with a slapshot of 95.9 mph. It was the second straight year Willis participated in an All-Star Game and won the Hardest Shot Competition as he notched an assist in the 1999 AHL All-Star Game and won the Slapshot Event with a 95 mph shot. Willis played in all 11 playoff games for the Cyclones, notching eight points (5g, 3a) and leading the Cyclones in playoff goals with five.
Koehler (6’2’’, 195 lbs.) finished his third professional season last year, playing for the Cincinnati Cyclones. The Scarborough, Ontario native totaled 25 points (12g, 13a) and 157 penalty minutes for Cincinnati last season, ranking second on the Cyclones in penalty minutes. Koehler, 25, had three assists and 14 penalty minutes in eight postseason games for the Cyclones. Koehler split the 1998-99 season between the Beast of New Haven and the Florida Everblades, collecting 27 points (13g, 14a) and 62 penalty minutes in 29 games with Florida and notching four points (4g, 0a) and 29 penalty minutes in 26 games with New Haven. In two seasons at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Koehler totaled 73 points (36g, 37a).