The Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League announced the signing of three players, as the team continues to bolster its roster for the upcoming 2014-15 season. Forwards Charles Lachance and Ben O’Quinn, along with defenseman Kevin Noble, have agreed to terms with the Oilers.
Tulsa has officially signed nine players for its 23rd season in the CHL. More player signings are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Lachance, a 6-foot-3, 216-pound left wing, started last season with the Allen Americans and appeared in one game for the Oilers before moving on to the Mississippi Riverkings (SPHL) and eventually landing with the St. Charles Chill for the final 30 games of his rookie campaign. Prior to turning pro, Lachance played one season at American International College followed by three years at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hold on to Charles last season, but I knew what kind of potential he had and he is certainly deserving of another shot,” said Oilers Head Coach Bruce Ramsay. “I was impressed by his play in St. Charles and I know he is a big, physical player who will finish his hits and contribute offensively.”
Lachance, 26, said moving from team to team wasn't easy.
“It was difficult to move around to several teams last season but I think it helped me to grow as a player and it helped me to get a better understanding for the game and for the business of hockey,” said Lachance. “Coach Ramsay was very excited to have me and that made my decision very easy. I like the way Tulsa plays and I think I can add to that with the way I work and bring more grit.”
O’Quinn, 23, will begin his professional career in Tulsa after playing the last two seasons at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary. O’Quinn, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, started the 2013-14 season with eight points in his first four games and finished the year as the leading scorer in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference by posting 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 26 games.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about Tulsa, the arena, and the fans,” O’Quinn said. “I think my years of junior and college hockey have prepared me well to compete at this level and I know it’ll be a good test but it’s a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to it.”
“After playing in the OHL and putting up outstanding numbers in college, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Ben is ready to play at this level,” Ramsay said. “He’ll bring a lot of skill and speed to the offensive end of the ice and he’s one of those players who has a knack for putting the puck in the net.”
Noble, 27, is entering his third season as a pro. He played in 12 games last season with the St. Charles Chill. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound blue-liner registered two assists and 32 penalty minutes in his time with the expansion Chill. Noble, who hails from Sparwood, British Columbia, played four seasons at Mercyhurst University and got his first taste of the CHL as a member of the Missouri Mavericks during their 2012 playoff run. The following season, Noble appeared in 24 games for the Stockton Thunder (ECHL) and notched three assists in addition to 70 penalty minutes.
“Kevin is another guy I had an opportunity to observe last season when we played against the Chill and he’s a very talented defenseman who plays a tough-minded game and is extremely reliable in his positioning and puck movement,” said Ramsay. “I know he’s looking for a place where he can have more team success and I think he’s going to be a tremendous addition to our roster.”
“Having played a few games in Tulsa, it’s easy to see why it’s such a great place and why the rink is considered one of the best in all of minor pro hockey,” Noble said. “I think going to the Oilers will be a fresh start for me and I can’t wait to get the season underway and start competing for a championship. I love the challenge of playing in this league and I just want to come in and be consistent in shutting down the opposing team’s top forwards.”
The Oilers will continue a tradition this fall when they face off against the Wichita Thunder in a Central Hockey League exhibition game on Saturday, October 18 at the Wichita Ice Center (505 W. Maple St. Wichita, KS 67213). The long-time rivals are meeting in the preseason for a fifth consecutive year.
The contest is slated to begin at 4 p.m. and will serve as a warm-up for both clubs as they look ahead to the start of the regular season on the following weekend.
Immediately after the Oilers tilt with the Thunder is concluded, the Wichita Junior Thunder will take on the Oklahoma City Junior Blazers, coached by former Oklahoma City Blazers and Tulsa Oilers, Tyler Fleck and Marty Standish.
Tickets are $12 and will be valid for both games.
Oilers training camp opens on Monday, October 13 at the Oilers Ice Center. Dates and times of training camp practice sessions have yet to be determined.
For more information on these games or for information about season tickets, please call the Oilers office at 918-632-7825 or the Thunder office at 316-264-4625.