DALLAS – Miami University senior forward Curtis McKenzie has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League, the club announced Friday evening. The deal begins in the 2013-14 season. He has been playing for the Stars’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, since signing an amateur tryout contract with Texas on April 3.
McKenzie (Golden, B.C.) was a sixth-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, being selected 159th overall. He has played in one game for the Texas Stars so far, debuting on April 6 against the Hamilton Bulldogs. The left winger fired one shot on goal and collected five penalty minutes for a fight with Kyle Hagel, brother of McKenzie’s senior classmate, Marc Hagel, who is also playing in the AHL.
McKenzie completed his four-year Miami career this past year, playing in 158 career games, which ranks eighth in school history. He totaled 80 points in his time as a RedHawk, the most among any player on this year’s roster, notching 29 goals while adding 51 assists. The 6-foot-2, 209-pounder compiled a +18 rating while racking up 115 penalties for 285 penalty minutes, which ties for fourth in school history.
During his career, McKenzie helped lead Miami to two CCHA regular-season championships, including this year, a Mason Cup Championship (CCHA Tournament title), and a berth in the 2010 Frozen Four, as he appeared in the NCAA Tournament all four years during his career. He is also part of the first Miami class to make the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena all four seasons.
In addition to the regular-season title, McKenzie guided the RedHawks to the NCAA Midwest Regional Final this season, as he tallied 24 points in 39 games. He scored 11 goals, which was third on the team, as were his 24 points, and dished out 13 assists. He compiled 80 penalty minutes on 29 penalties as a senior, while scoring five power play goals and a team-best five game-winning goals. He finished with eight career game-winners and 11 power play goals.
McKenzie becomes the 22nd RedHawk to sign an NHL contract since 2000 and the first this year, though five RedHawks signed last year. Among those that signed last year was then-junior Reilly Smith (’13), who also signed an NHL contract with the Dallas Stars and has been playing with both Dallas and Texas, including playing with McKenzie April 6.
McKenzie is not the only Miami senior to have signed a professional contract this year, however, as Hagel inked an amateur tryout contact with the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
Hagel has played in three games so far for the Monsters, making his debut April 3 vs. the Toronto Marlies. He scored his first professional point Friday night (April 12) in his hometown of Hamilton, Ont., playing against his brother, Kyle. Marc assisted on Lake Erie’s fourth goal in a 6-2 victory over his sibling’s squad.
In his lone year as a RedHawk, Hagel, who played three years for Princeton and was a Tiger captain before transferring to Miami, played in all 42 games this season, recording 19 points. He scored six goals, including one in an NCAA Tournament win over Minnesota State, and handed out 13 assists. He posted a +11 rating and had 37 penalty minutes, while blocking 44 shots. He also earned CCHA Offensive Player of the Week during the season.
Hagel and the Monsters are back in action tonight, Saturday, April 13, hosting his brother, Kyle, and the Hamilton Bulldogs.