CHARLOTTE, NC— The Charlotte Checkers have agreed to terms with 2009 ECHL All-Star Game MVP Matthew Ford and have invited rookie Jason Lawrence to training camp, head coach and general manager Derek Wilkinson announced today.
Ford, 24, began last season with the Checkers before being called up to the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolfpack mid-season. He scored 13 goals in his first 14 games in Charlotte and tied for the overall team lead in goals with 21 despite only appearing in 28 games. He added 17 assists for 38 points and chipped in with two goals and three assists in six playoff games. In 25 games in Hartford, he tallied one goal and two assists.
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound winger from West Hills, Calif. was named to the 2009 ECHL All-Star Game where he netted three goals and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“The Checkers are a first-class organization from ownership to coaching,” said Ford. “With the caliber of players brought in this season, the city and the great fans, there is nowhere I would rather be in this league.”
Prior to joining the Checkers, Ford played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, helping the Badgers capture the 2006 NCAA Championship. He was an eighth round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Lawrence, a rookie out of Saugus, Mass., spent his four-year collegiate career at Boston University. In 2008-09, he led the team in goals with 25 and helped the Terriers capture the 2009 NCAA Championship. In 158 career NCAA games, the 22-year-old winger notched 46 goals, 51 assists and added 123 penalty minutes.
Prior to college, Lawrence skated for the U.S. National Under-18 Team where he collected 25 goals and 22 assists in 56 games over two seasons.
The Checkers’ training camp begins Monday and the roster now stands at 24 players.
The Checkers’ schedule is now available and they are getting ready for their 17th season of play as a member of the ECHL and 16th as an affiliate of the New York Rangers. In the team’s 16-year history, the Checkers have made the playoffs 12 times including five consecutive playoff appearances to date. Season tickets are on sale now. For season ticket information, please call 704-342-4-ICE or visit www.gocheckers.com.