Tuesday, March 29, 2011

York signs with Columbus Blue Jackets

TROY -- "You're getting to be like a WCHA team (in terms of star players leaving early)," Rensselaer hockey coach Seth Appert was told on Tuesday when junior goaltender Allen York signed with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.
"That's part of the price you pay when you recruit well and when (those recruits) perform well," Appert said.
York, drafted by the Blue Jackets in the sixth round in 2007, joins -- though no RPI fan has to be reminded -- 2009-10 freshmen stars Brandon Pirri and Jerry D'Amigo in turning pro early.
For York, it simply was a matter of the old cliche -- 'an offer he couldn't refuse.'
"It is a tremendous opportunity at a life-long dream that I cannot pass up,” York said.
The 6-foot-3, 188-pound York was assigned to the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affilate in Springfield. He'll be in uniform on Friday night when the Falcons host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
"I'm pretty excited," York said. "It's a dream come true."
Appert was thrilled for York.
"I would like to congratulate Allen on signing an NHL contract,” Appert said. "Allen has been a driving force in our program for the last three years, pushing us to back to back winning seasons and an NCAA Tournament appearance. We wish him the best in his future as he will always be part of the RPI hockey family.”
"A lot people (RPI players) come here for a combination of a world-class education and pretty good hockey," Appert said. "Allen came here for hockey. He believed this was the best program in the country for him to develop and sharpen his skills and to progress and mature as a goaltender."
York wasn't sure he'd start on Friday night.
"They're carrying four goalies right now," he said of the Falcons. "Hopefully I'll get a start here and there. I'll just work hard in practice and see what happens."
Asked what the Blue Jackets told him, York said, "Not much. Just that they're happy I'm here and get to Springfield."
He also said he hasn't thought much about how he'd spend his first paycheck.
"Well, I'm going to need a vehicle," he said. "I'm not sure it's going to be a nice one."
The Wetaskiwin, Alb. native spoke of his time at RPI.
β€œThe three years at RPI were the best of my life and I am very thankful to my teammates, coach Appert, the rest of the staff and the fans."
He said he came to Rensselaer "because it was a new challenge, a team that hadn't been doing well. And coach Appert was pretty persuasive with what he could do for me. And when I came (for a visit), I loved the area and loved the guys.
"I figured it was a real good fit for me," York added.
York posted an 18-11-4 record this past season, with a 2.17 goals against average and 92.4 saves percentage. He started every game but one, except when he was injured, missing three games.
York was named All-ECAC Hockey twice, earning Second Team honors after his sohomore year and a Third Team berth this past season.
He had a career goals against average of 2.47, the best in RPI history. He is third in saves percentage (91.4), fifth in games (83), starts (81) and minutes (4898:46). He's sixth in saves (2143) and shutouts (4).
Appert again stated that the Engineers will bring in a recruited goalie for the 2011-12 season but also reaffirmed his faith in junior-to-be Bryce Merriam.
"I have a lot of belief in Bryce," Appert said of Merriam, who beat Princeton 5-2 in one of his starts and gave up a total of just five goals in overtime losses to Colgate and Cornell.
"Bryce stepped up when we needed," Appert said. "He'll be 24 years old and he's more mature now."


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