Forward Matt Caria will play for the Lakehead Thunderwolves, but it is just a matter of when.
Caria, a Sault Ste. Marie native who tallied 92 points in his OHL overage season, had been playing well as a rookie the ECHL (12 points in 14 games with Utah and Florida), but he was suspended by the Florida team on Monday. The Naples News reported Caria had left "to play collegiate hockey in Canada."
The question is when Caria will be eligible and suit up for the No. 10 Thunderwolves. David Kilfoil notes that since Caria only turned 21 earlier this year, he is "eligible to participate upon entry." (Thanks for the clarification, Dave.) That overrides the CIS rule that states an athlete "may participate in CIS competition one year from the date that the athlete last participated in a professional game or event in a sport."
One justification for hockey having that exception is major junior grads have to use it or lose it with their education package. If memory serves, it has to be accessed within 18 months of the player finishing his time in the CHL. That is something to keep in mind if people wonder how someone can play pro and CIS hockey in the same season; amateur and university are not synonymous.
Anyhow, it's likely just a matter of Caria enrolling for the winter semester. His debut could actually come Dec. 29 when Lakehead hosts Manitoba.
(In hindsight, common sense should have caused yours truly to clue in Caria would only come if he could play this season, especially since the 'Wolves are hosting the national championship.)