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Big Rapids, Mich. - All-America defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) of the 2011-12 NCAA Division I National Finalist Ferris State University men's ice hockey team officially was signed to a one-year contract by the American Hockey League's (AHL) Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday (July 12).
The Detroit Red Wings affiliate announced the signing of Billins following a standout senior campaign for the Bulldogs, who claimed the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Regular-Season Championship and the NCAA Midwest Regional crown en route to the national title game at the Frozen Four.
Billins originally signed an amateur tryout contract with the Griffins following his collegiate career on April 12, but did not see game action. In Grand Rapids, he will play under former Red Wings assistant coach and Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill, who's a Bulldog alum and former assistant coach at Ferris State.
Billins wrapped up his senior campaign as both an All-American on the ice and an Academic All-American for his work both in the classroom and on the ice by being tabbed to the 2012 Capital One At-Large Division One Academic All-America Second Team earlier this summer.
A native of Marysville, Mich., Billins logged 29 points (7-22—29) and 24 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Bulldogs this season while claiming American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America Second Team plaudits on the ice.
The veteran defenseman served as a co-captain for the Bulldogs during the team's run to the NCAA Frozen Four, where they were defeated in the championship game by Boston College on April 7 in Tampa, Fla. The 5-10, 175-pound defenseman skated in 149 games in four years with Ferris State, notching 67 points (17-50—67) and 108 penalty minutes.
Billins was recognized this season as both a All-CCHA First Team recipient and the winner of the CCHA's prestigious Scholar-Athlete Award as the Bulldogs claimed the school's second-ever league regular-season crown. He placed second among CCHA defensemen with 25 points (7-18—25) in 31 conference games.
In 2011-12, Billins was also a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award and earned a spot on the Senior CLASS All-America Team, which rewards academic success and the loyalty of seniors that honored their four-year commitment to their university. Billins also received nominations for CCHA's RBC Player of the Year and Best Offensive Defenseman awards.
Prior to his collegiate career, the 23-year-old defenseman skated for the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks in 2007-08 and finished fourth among the league's defensemen with 36 points (10-26—36) in 60 games. Billins also played 62 games for the Alpena IceDiggers of the NAHL from 2005-07, totaling 25 points (7-18—25) and 98 penalty minutes.
Height: 5'10" Weight: 175 Shoots: Left Born: 5/26/89 in Marysville, Mich.