The Ottawa Senators announced today the club has signed free-agent forward Wacey Hamilton to a three-year entry-level contract.
Hamilton, 20, is currently his fourth season with the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers. In 65 games this season, he has scored 20 goals and recorded career highs in assists (52), points (72) and penalty minutes (113). Hamilton has served as the Tigers’ team captain in each of the last two seasons.
The 6-0, 177-pound centre has scored 61 goals, added 131 assists and recorded 372 penalty minutes in 232 career games with Medicine Hat. In 28 career playoff games, he has totalled five goals and eight assists.
The native of Cochrane, Alta., played one season for the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks in 2006-07 before being acquired by Medicine Hat in trade with the Vancouver Giants prior to the 2007-08 season.
Medicine Hat, AB – The Medicine Hat Tigers are pleased to announce this afternoon 20-year-old team captain Wacey Hamilton has signed an entry level contract with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
The native of Cochrane, AB said, “It's a very exciting time for myself but I'm happy to get it kind of over and done with to just allow myself to focus on the team and going deep into the playoffs.”
“It's been a long time coming. My first couple seasons were pretty tough but I kept pushing and working towards signing a contract and today is bittersweet as far as proving a lot of people wrong. Hopefully my story can sort of inspire some other kids who go under the radar for a long time and remind them to keep pushing towards their goals,” stated Hamilton.
Tigers Captain #36 Wacey Hamilton
Wacey is in the midst of another tremendous year for the Tigers. Through 65 games this season, he is averaging over a point-per-game with 20 goals and 52 assists. His consistent play and impressive totals made Hamilton a valued commodity in NHL circles.
“There were other teams that offered sort of the same thing but we felt Ottawa was a really good fit. They are kind of rebuilding right now, so maybe there's a bit more of an opportunity to get called up and make an impact at a younger age. In the end my family and agent and I all felt it was the best fit,” commented Hamilton.
“Now that it's done, I can finally get back to work. Everyone around the organization knows that the players have two goals, and that's to sign a pro contract and win the championship and the Memorial Cup. So now that I have one of those out of the way I'm hungry to work towards a long playoff run and winning a championship.”
Hamilton debuted for the Tigers as a 17-year-old in the 2007-08 season. That year he notched 32 points, appearing in 63 games with the club despite battling a barrage of injuries. The next season, the injury bug caught Wacey again, forcing him to miss much of the season.
Still, the Tigers knew Hamilton had plenty of heart and skill, with moxie to spare, and he was named team captain for the 2009-10 season. Wacey responded with a breakout season, tallying 24 goals and 47 assists for 71 points. He also represented team WHL in the Subway Super Series where he scored on a pass from fellow Tigers teammate Linden Vey.
“Our owners, the Masers, have given me the opportunities and the tools I needed to be successful in the WHL and they've been outstanding as far as supporting the team, so I'd like to thank them first and foremost.”
Added Hamilton, “Willie Desjardins was huge for me. I probably wouldn't be a Medicine Hat Tiger if he didn't make the trip up to my house a few summers ago to recruit me. He gave me a lot of opportunity as far as ice time and development and stuff like that.
Hamilton also thanked his agent, his family, and his teammates along with everyone in the Tigers’ organization.
“I think it's a great day for Wacey, said Tigers’ general manager Brad McEwen. “You see a young guy that's worked his tail off to become what he is and that's probably his best quality. He's a great team guy, he’s got all the qualities that make players and teams successful.”
McEwen also noted that Hamilton's work ethic is what sets him apart from the competition. “He approaches everything...practices, workouts, games all with a professional attitude and wants to get better and you see the results. He was not a high profile guy when he came into our league and he's made himself into what he is and we're just real excited about the opportunity that he has.”
“He brings a workmanlike attitude everyday to practice and games and I'm sure that's what they see. He can help them build depth in their organization and I think they got a real good one. We wish Wacey all the best on his professional career with Ottawa.” concluded McEwen.