Three Finlandia players from last season's team are moving up to the professional level as forwards Travis Hanson, Josh Paquette and Ryan Sullivan have earned professional contracts for the upcoming season.
Hanson (Bark River) was re-signed by the Cincinnati Cyclones, an ECHL team affiliated with the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens. He was originally signed after the MCHA tournament last season and helped lead the Cyclones to a league championship when they defeated Las Vegas. He was a team captain at FU for two years, recording 58 points (25g, 33a) in 103 career games.
“Travis has worked very hard to create this opportunity,” Finlandia head coach Joe Burcar said. “The Cyclones were looking for a big, strong player to win battles on the wall, they called him in last spring and he made an immediate impact in helping win the ECHL championship.”
Paquette, a Marquette native, has been signed by the New Mexico Scorpions, a team in the Central Hockey League. He rewrote the MCHA record book, setting new career marks with 47 goals, 83 assists and 130 points last season. Overall in his career, he tallied 152 points (51g, 101a) in 105 games. He was named to the all-conference team on two occasions and to the all-newcomer team as a freshman, leading the Lions to a Harris Cup championship as a junior and to a second straight title game appearance a year ago.
“Josh is a very gifted player with his ability to score in any given situation,” Burcar said. “He has been able to score at every level he has played and will make the transition as a professional player very smoothly.”
Sullivan, also from Marquette, will join Paquette on the roster of the Scorpions. The Lions' team MVP a year ago, he was also an all-conference performer on the ice, recording 88 points (50g, 38a) in 82 career games.
“Ryan is ready for the next level; he is very complete in his game,” said Burcar. “We have used Ryan in every situation and he has excelled. The bigger the game, the better Ryan is.”
All three Finlandia players were also regulars on the MCHA All-Academic Team.
“We will miss all three of these players; they have brought so much to Finlandia hockey," added Burcar. "We wish them great success.”