York men’s hockey players sign pro contracts

Above: Former York Lions captain Tyler Harrison

With their interuniversity sport careers now complete, four members of the York University Lions men’s hockey team have signed pro contracts for the upcoming 2010-2011 season.

Tyler Harrison (BA ’10) and fourth-year kinesiology & health science student Chris Korte will suit up for European teams in the Czech Republic and Germany, respectively, while third-year English student Nathaniel Brooks and fourth-year geography student Kyle Searle will both be playing in the Central Hockey League.

Harrison, the Lions team captain for the past two seasons, has signed with HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga, the top flight level of hockey in the Czech Republic. Several current and former National Hockey League players have come from Kladno, including Jaromir Jagr, Tomas Kaberle and Patrik Elias.

The six-foot-six, 215-pound centre from Whitby, Ont., finished his five years at York as one of the top offensive players in program history. In 2009-2010 he recorded a career-high 36 points and ended up 10th in goals on the all-time list with 50, eighth in assists with 88 and ninth in total points with 138. He is a former Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star and was the recipient of the Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy at the Interuniversity Sport Banquet in March.

Korte, a six-foot-six, 235-pound defenceman from Markham, Ont., will spend next season with EV Regensburg in Germany’s Oberliega. He played with the Lions for four seasons and was a standout on the blue line for the team. He developed into a shutdown defender and dominated play with a strong physical presence on the back end.

Brooks will take to the ice with the Tulsa Oilers, who played last year in the Northern Division and missed out on a playoff spot by just five points. The Markham, Ont., left-winger spent three seasons with the Lions and twice finished second in team scoring. He was an OUA all-star in 2007-2008 and last year recorded 29 points in 28 games, a career high.

Left: York Lions player Nathaniel Brooks. Photo by Alex Pylyshyn.

Searle has signed with the Laredo Bucks, a team that finished third in the Southern Division last year before losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Allen Americans. While with the Lions, the five-foot-10, 215-pound Newtonville, Ont. resident asserted himself as one of the top offensive defencemen in the OUA. Last year he recorded 24 points in 24 games to finish third in scoring on the Lions and fourth in the OUA among all defenders.

“I am thrilled that each of these players has found an opportunity to continue their hockey careers at the professional level,” said head coach Jim Wells. “All were major contributors during their careers with the Lions and were leaders on and off the ice as team captains. I wish all of them the best of luck next season.”