Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League and the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, announced that forward, James Hiebert (HE – burt), has been assigned by the Monarchs to the Royals for training camp.
A fourth year pro from Hay River, Northwest Territories, Hiebert, who signed a one year contract with Manchester in August of this year, scored 23 goals and assisted on 52 others (75 points) and racked up 275 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games for the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League last season. Hiebert (5'10"/195 lbs.) also scored five goals in thirteen playoff games for the Bucks, who won the 2006 CHL championship. In a separate transaction, the Monarchs also released defenseman Shawn Thompson (See, Royals' News Story, dated July 10, 2006), who will return to Reading for training camp.
After starting his major junior career with one game for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League in 1998-99, Hiebert, who turned twenty four in June, played four full seasons with the Broncos. During his time with Swift Current, Hiebert racked up a total of 70 goals, 174 points, and 502 penalty minutes in 242 WHL games. In 2003-04, Hiebert joined the Laredo Bucks and went on to score 16 goals and add 26 assists and 185 penalty minutes in 61 regular season games. It was in the playoffs, however, that Hiebert's offensive output exploded, as he scored a team-high eight goals (and assisted on six others) in the fifteen games it took the Bucks to win their first CHL championship.
Included in his playoff scoring that year was an overtime game winner in Game Seven of the first round series against the San Angelo Saints. In that game, Hiebert had two goals and two assists, factoring in all four goals in the series' deciding game. In his sophomore season, Hiebert topped his rookie numbers by scoring a total of 18 goals and 59 points, while racking up 243 penalty minutes in 58 regular season games.
Again, that season Hiebert was most effective down the stretch when he scored ten goals and added sixteen assists (26 points) in the final 16 games of the regular season, as the Bucks closed out 12 – 0 – 1 to win the Southern Conference regular season title. Hiebert continued his production through the playoffs (4g – 10a = 14pts) as Laredo went all the way to the league finals for the second year in a row before being defeated four games to one by the Colorado Eagles.
Last season, Hiebert took his play up another notch (again) as he put up career numbers: 23g – 52a = 75pts and a team leading 275 penalty minutes (fifth highest in the CHL) in 59 regular season games, earning him a mid-season selection to the 2006 CHL All-Star Classic in Hidalgo, Texas.
Although he was under league suspension at the start of the playoff season–and actually went 16 days between hockey games before returning for Game 4 of the Southern Conference Semi-Final match-up with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Hiebert picked up right where he left off when he returned to action. He scored five goals and assisted on four others in thirteen playoff games, as Laredo took their second CHL championship in three years. During his three seasons with the Bucks, Hiebert racked up a total of 703 penalty minutes, making him the team career leader in that category.