You can count two more Lakers from the 2018-19 team as professional hockey players.
On March 15, Mercyhurst men’s ice hockey announced the signing of Matt Whittaker to the Newfoundland Growlers and Josh Lammon to the Florida Everblades. Both teams are at the ECHL, and are based out of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Estero, Florida, respectively. The Everblades serve as ECHL affliates of the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL and the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.
The Growlers affliate with the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlins, who play at the AHL level.
Previously this month, the team announced Joseph Duszak’s signing to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a Professional Tryout Contract for Derek Barach with the Lake Erie Monsters.
Whittaker finished the season with 10 goals and 15 assists, totaling 25 points. Whittaker also tallied the third highest for shots for the Lakers, with 94.
“Signing with the Growlers and getting my first taste of pro hockey is obviously an incredible experience,” Whittaker said. “The goal for me was to find a team and situation with a staff and team that I felt comfortable with and I think that the Growlers have been top notch in making my transition as seamless as possible.”
Lammon was named Atlantic Hockey’s best defensive forward, and had a +5 plus/minus rating and 23 blocked shots on the season. Offensively, Lammon led in power play goals (five), 12 goals and 18 assists for a total of 30 points.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to make a lot of great memories playing hockey over the years,” Lammon said. “I’d say the best memories for me are away from the ice. It’s the camaraderie with my teammates in the locker room or away from the rink.”
Both players spoke of the brotherhood formed by their teammates throughout their hockey careers.
“The favorite part of my hockey journey thus far is without a doubt my four years spent at Mercyhurst as both a student and an athlete,” Whittaker said. “The friends and memories made at Mercyhurst both at the rink and away from it are things that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Playing four years and winning a regular season championship my junior year with my best friends is something that I’ll cherish forever.”
Look for these soon to be former Lakers next season on the ice.
“Moving forward, I would just like to take advantage of my opportunity to play professional hockey and hopefully play in the American Hockey League at some point,” Lammon said. “For now, I’m just taking it day by day and trying to consistently improve my game to be competitive at the professional level.”