Thunderbolts sign fan favorite, ECHL veteran Clarke - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Thunderbolts sign fan favorite, ECHL veteran Clarke

(Source: Evansville Thunderbolts press release/Photo by Whiteshark Photography) (Source: Evansville Thunderbolts press release/Photo by Whiteshark Photography)
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -

Evansville Thunderbolts Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Jeff Pyle announced today the return of a fan favorite to Evansville ice.

Dylan Clarke has signed on to skate with the Thunderbolts when the puck drops to kick off the 2017-18 season on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Ford Center.

Clarke last skated on Evansville ice as an Icemen during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.  He spent the year prior playing for the South Carolina Stingrays.  Following his stint with the Icemen, Clarke then went on to play for the Rapid City Rush in 2014-15 and the Indy Fuel in 2015-16.  In his five years in the ECHL, Clarke earned 57 goals and 88 assists.

“We are excited to have Dylan back with us in Evansville where he is a fan favorite,” said Pyle. “He plays with grit, has a great work ethic and has great skill.  He is the veteran player that will lead by example.”

Clarke took a year off the ice last season to coach the Jr. Thunderbolts hockey team at Swonder Ice Arena. That year working as a head coach is something that Pyle said he is ready to utilize to make the Thunderbolts a stronger team.

“He will be assisting me on all the day-to-day operations as an assistant coach to help him develop his future,” said Pyle.  “The players are comfortable with him because of the great job he did with us last year and they respect his opinion.  The leadership he brings and the standard he sets for himself will rub off on all our guys.”

“After a year off, I really began to miss playing the game, the camaraderie between teammates, the thrill of playing,” said Clarke, “and now I have the opportunity to play, coach and mentor younger guys, to help them advance in the professional ranks.  Having that year off and coaching, I feel I've learned more about the game.”

Clarke said he is excited to once again play in the Ford Center and in front of the region’s fans.

“The Ford Center is easily the best rink in the minor league system.  Once it gets packed with fans, it is also the loudest,” he said.  “The Ford Center and its amenities are awesome.  Added along with hockey fans of Evansville, it’s a great environment to play in.  I look forward to playing back in front of the Evansville Crowd and being a part of a winning team.”

The Thunderbolts have already added Thunderbolts’ veterans Brandon Lubin, Cory Melkert, Al Graves, Nick D’Avolio, Tanner Milliron, John Scorcia, Dave Williams, Frank Schumacher, Tommy Fiorentino, Mark Petaccio and Chase Nieuwendyk to October’s training camp roster.

“This team will be the staple point of our future,” said Pyle.  “The fans have a core group that they can identify with and we can build off of that.  We are looking forward to an exciting season.”

Season tickets are as low as $11 per game.  To order your tickets for next season, call 812-422-BOLT.

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