Big Rapids, Mich. - Yet another former Ferris State University men's ice hockey player has signed a new professional contract as the American Hockey League's (AHL) Charlotte Checkers announced this week the addition of rookie left wing Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, Ontario).
Bonis, who served as the Bulldogs' team captain during the 2012-13 campaign, inked an AHL two-way contract with the Checkers for this coming season. The Checkers are the top affiliate of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Carolina Hurricanes.
Bonis, 24, completed a four-year career with the Bulldogs last season, tying his collegiate career-high with 19 goals in 37 games over the course of his senior campaign. He also appeared in five AHL games with the Norfolk Admirals on a late-season tryout, scoring two points (1g, 1a) in his first six professional contests.
"He came recommended from different people and this is a chance for him to contribute at the AHL level," said Checkers head coach Jeff Daniels. "He scored some goals in college, and we'll get him into camp to see where he's at."
During the most recent season, Ferris State named Bonis, a former-walk on who worked his way up to team captain, its male Dan Davenport Bulldog Of the Year, an award previously won by the Pittsburgh Penguins' Chris Kunitz in 2003. Bonis also picked up a Frozen Four All-Tournament Team nod for helping to lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA national championship game in his junior year.
A native of Lindsay, Ontario, Bonis (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) becomes the second player to join the Checkers from the college ranks in the last week. Fellow forward Adam Brace (Robert Morris University) signed a one-way AHL contract on Aug. 19.
Bonis, who played junior hockey with Bancroft and Port Hope of the OPJHL, with Indiana in the USHL and with Traverse City in the NAHL, totaled 77 points (47g, 30a) and 48 penalty minutes in 136 games during his time with Ferris State. He finished his career with back-to-back 19 goal seasons and posted a career-best 31 points over 43 games during his junior year in 2011-12.
As a senior, Bonis helped the Bulldogs earn a first-round tournament bye for the fourth consecutive year in 2012-13 as FSU wrapped up Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) play as one of only two schools to accomplish the feat in the final four years of the league.
The Bulldog winger was nominated last season for both the prestigious Hobey Baker Award and was a national finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which honors NCAA men's ice hockey student-athletes who excel both on and off the ice. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
His senior campaign came on the heels of a historic 2011-12 season in which Ferris State received its first-ever number one national ranking, won the CCHA regular-season championship, claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional crown and advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time in school history.