Hughson, Pretorius and O’Neill Expected to Make Pro Hockey Debuts This Weekend
ELMIRA, N.Y. — Three seniors from the Elmira College men’s ice hockey team will have the opportunity to continue their playing careers at the professional level, including a pair that signed contracts to suit up for the Elmira Enforcers of the Federal Hockey League.
Defenseman Calvin Hughson ’19 and goaltender Charl Pretorius ’19 have each signed with the Enforcers and will make their pro debuts at the First Arena in downtown Elmira this weekend. Former EC captain Blake O’Neill ’19 joined the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) on an amateur tryout. All three players wrapped up their final collegiate seasons with the Soaring Eagles last weekend in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) playoffs.
Hughson, a native of Sarnia, Ontario, appeared in 52 games across three seasons with the Soaring Eagles. He scored two goals with seven assists for nine career points, with two points (1g-1a) coming during his final season in 2018-19.
The pride of Pretoria, South Africa, Pretorius is expected to make his first professional start at First Arena on Sunday, March 3, when Elmira concludes its three-game weekend series with the Danville Dashers at 4:05 p.m. With the Purple and Gold, Pretorius logged 465:46 minutes and 233 saves between the pipes.
By signing with the Elmira Enforcers, Hughson and Pretorius reunite with former teammate Mitch Atkins ’18, who has 25 points (5g-20a) in 20 games with the local pro club.
O’Neill joins a Knoxville squad that is gearing up for a run at the SPHL playoffs. The Ice Bears enter the weekend fourth in the league standings with a 22-16-5 overall record and will travel for two games at first-place Peoria (Ill.) on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2. With two defensemen on the injured reserve list, the Fort Myers, Florida, native will look to earn a permanent spot on the Knoxville roster. In 97 games played with the Soaring Eagles, O’Neill accumulated 45 points (11g-34a), while serving as a captain as a junior and senior.