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by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
Western Michigan standout tied for scoring lead at Ottawa Rookie Tournament


Jason Karmanos, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, announced today that the Hurricanes have agreed to terms on a two-year, two-way contract with forward Vince Bellissimo. Bellissimo will receive a signing bonus of $25,000 and will earn $450,000 at the NHL level or $40,000 at the American Hockey League level in 2005-06 and $50,000 at the AHL level in 2006-07.

“Vince is a young prospect who earned a contract through his strong play at the rookie tournament in Ottawa,” said Karmanos. “While his offensive abilities have been evident throughout his career, he has also shown a keen awareness defensively in training camp.”

A fifth-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2002, Bellissimo tied with fellow Hurricanes prospect Andrew Ladd for the scoring lead at the Ottawa Rookie Tournament with seven points (2g, 5a). He has been invited to the camp as a free agent tryout, and earned his way to the Hurricanes NHL training camp.

Bellissimo, 22, completed his junior season at Western Michigan of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) in 2004-05, tallying 17 goals and 20 assists (37 points) in 35 games. He ranked first on his team in penalty minutes (81), second in goals (17) and points (37) and third in assists (20), earning honorable mention all-CCHA honors. He turned professional following the college season, completing the year with San Antonio of the American Hockey League (AHL), the top minor-league affiliate of the Florida Panthers. The Toronto native notched six points (3g, 3a) in 12 games for the Rampage.

Bellissimo (6’0’’, 205 lbs.) totaled 113 points (49g, 64a) and 141 penalty minutes in his three-year career at Western Michigan. He was named to the CCHA All-Rookie team in 2003 following a freshman season in which he scored 19 goals and 17 assists (36 points). Prior to attending Western Michigan, he played one season for Topeka of the United States Hockey League, totaling 76 points (37g, 39a) in 61 games. He was named the USHL’s Top Forward and earned a spot on the USHL’s First All-Star team that season.

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