Hockey: Hennigar signs with Islanders

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, UNB forward Rob Hennigar has signed a two-year, two-way contract with the New York Islanders. Hennigar claimed this year's Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy as the CIS Player of the Year after putting up an impressive 58 points in only 27 regular-season games. He's more of a playmaker than a scorer (those points break down into 15 goals and 43 assists), but he certainly has plenty of offensive talent. Hennigar also produced in the clutch: even though UNB lost in the final, he put up three assists and one goal in their three tournament games and was named to the tournament all-star team.

It's been quite a week for Hennigar: he was also named the AUS male nominee for the BLG Award today, given annually to the top male and female athletes in CIS competition. He'll be up against Bishop's running back Jamall Lee, Winnipeg volleyball player Ben Schellenberg and Carleton basketball star Aaron Doornekamp. Interestingly, the CIS press release is dated April 10, 2008, so it must be a message from the future: perhaps they released it earlier than planned due to the Calgary Herald reporting the nominees today?

One final note on this: Dreger calls the Hennigar signing "an indication the National Hockey League is showing growing interest in CIS players," and titles his column "CIS could be an untapped market for NHL". He also quotes Kevin Dickie, the Varsity Reds' athletic director who's also a former L.A. Kings scout, who describes the CIS as an "untapped market". Add Dreger and Dickie to the list of those who are talking about the quality of CIS hockey, which also includes Bob McCown, Ron MacLean and Don Cherry and Gare Joyce. Neate also wrote about a couple of CIS goalies getting shots at the pros, including McGill's Mathieu Poitras, who the Anaheim Ducks called up as a third goalie for their playoff run. If this trend keeps up, the league won't stay an "untapped resource" for long.
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