Odessa, TX –The Odessa Jackalopes, proud members of the North American Hockey League, have signed forward Connor Smith to a tender for the 2018-19 season. Smith is the fifth tender the Jackalopes have signed this season.
Smith, the native of Pickney, Michigan, just finished his second year of junior hockey, playing in Canadian leagues for the prior two seasons.
“I needed to do what was best for me, and Odessa was a better team in a better league. It is just overall a better option for me, so when the opportunity came I knew I had to do what was best for me,” says Smith. “Signing a tender with Odessa was what is best for everyone involved. I visited Odessa after my season ended to see what it was like, and I joined the guys on a road trip. They made me feel welcome and like I was a part of the team. That was a big factor in my decision to sign with Jacks.”
Following four years of hockey at Pickney High School where he picked up 114 goals and 69 assists in 105 games, Smith joined the Three River Falls Norskies in the SIJHL. In one season with the Norskies, Smith scored 24 times in 53 games while assisting on 14 goals as well.
After one year in the SIJHL, Smith swapped Canadian leagues to the SJHL where he joined the La Ronge Ice Wolves. Despite his team ranking last in the league, Smith was a bright spot, netting 21 goals on the year, ranking in the Top-20 scorers in the SJHL.
“Connor is a long rangy kid that can absolutely fire the puck,” says associate head coach Cody Campbell. “He has been a goal scorer his whole life and with two years of junior hockey under his belt, we expect him to come in and produce for us right away.”
Smith has always been a scorer, tallying 20 or more goals in each of the past four seasons. While he has a quick shot and pinpoint accuracy, his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame can be intimidating as well.
“Since I was a kid I’ve always had a rink in my backyard to skate on,” says Smith. “In the summers I would play roller hockey out in the back yard and as soon as it was cold enough, my dad would make an ice rink for me and my brother. I’ve always had opportunity to skate whenever I wanted, and it has definitely helped me the develop the ability to score.”
Smith gives the Jackalopes a pure scorer that can help elevate the game of everyone else on the team. Smith joins Martin Pietraszek, Matt Hutton, Cade Roberts, and Rex Moe as the other Jackalopes tenders who look to break through with the team for next season.
A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders plus or minus any trades, which became active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft, which will be held on June 5, 2018.
— ODESSA JACKALOPES —