At Michigan's season-ending banquet a few months back, head coach Red Berenson named seniors-to-be Jeff Tambellini, Al Montoya and Andrew Ebbett tri-captains for the 2005-2006 season.
Only Ebbett remains with a 'C' on his jersey as first Montoya signed with the New York Rangers on July 27 and then yesterday Tambellini signed with the Los Angeles Kings.
Tambellini was drafted by the Kings in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 27th overall.
"It's a sad part of the game when money takes over and diverts top players before they can finish school," said Berenson. "It has been Jeff Tambellini's dream to play at the top level and hopefully he can attain that. I wish he would have stayed for his senior season and had a great final year to finish his career. Jeff is a classy kid, a good student and a great player."
Tambellini, 21, served as an alternate captain and led Michigan in points (57), goals (24), assists (33) and game-winning goals (5) while compiling 32 penalty minutes in 42 games during the 2004-05 season.
The 5-foot-11, 186-pound native of Port Moody, British Columbia, and son of Steve Tambellini – vice president of the Vancouver Canucks and a 10-year NHL veteran – received the CCHA’s Scholar Athlete Award and was selected All-CCHA First Team. In addition, Tambellini was named CCHA Tournament MVP after registering the game-winning goal for the Wolverines in their 4-2 win over Ohio State in the CCHA Championship game played on March 19 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Tambellini added three more goals and five points in two NCAA tournament games with the Wolverines, who saw their season end with a 4-3 setback against Colorado College in the Midwest Regional Finals on March 26 in Grand Rapids.
The three-time CCHA Player of the Week in 2004-05 (November 8, January 10 and February 21), Tambellini registered 129 points (65 goals, 64 assists) and 74 penalty minutes in 124 career games with the Wolverines.
"With the new CBA rules, you'll probably see a lot of guys leaving after three years,'' Tambellini told the Ann Arbor News. "I just thought that it would be a good time for me to try to do this.''