Wichita, KS (August 10th) – The Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League announced today that they have added forward Jesse Bennefield and goaltender Torrie Jung to their roster for the 2012-13 season.
Bennefield, 31, returns to the Thunder after spending last season with the Fort Wayne Komets of the CHL. Entering his eighth season as a pro, Bennefield led the Thunder in scoring during the 2010-11 season with 35 goals, 40 assists and 75 points, which was good for 12th place in the CHL. The Calgary, Alberta native was acquired in a trade at the beginning of the 2010-11 season from Rio Grande Valley.
“I’m going back to a place where I had a lot of fun and Coach McClelland got the best out of me as a player,” remarked Bennefield. “The fans and organization are first class and that’s where I want to be. I hope we can continue what the team last year started and bring home a title.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound forward began his career in 2005-06 with the San Diego Gulls, scoring 30 goals, 60 points, and earned a spot on the 2006 ECHL All-Star team. The following year, Bennefield jumped to the United Hockey League and helped the Rockford IceHogs to a 2007 Colonial Cup Championship. In 2009-10, Bennefield scored 24 goals for the Killer Bees while adding 35 assists and was a CHL All-Star. That same season, he rattled off a 12-game point streak from November 14th to December 5th and totaled 20 multi-point games. Overall, Bennefield has accumulated 175 goals, 203 assists and 378 points in 382 games as a professional.
Jung, 23, played last season for the Laredo Bucks of the CHL. A seventh-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jung is entering his third season of professional hockey. Last year, the Nanaimo, BC native collected three shutouts in a four-game span. After blanking Rio Grande Valley 1-0 on January 27th, he earned two consecutive shutouts against the Texas Brahmas on February 1st and February 3rd. The young netminder ran his scoreless minute streak to 125:13 during the week and earned Oakley Goaltender of the Week honors for his efforts. Last season, Jung went 14-21-2 with a goals against average of 3.50, save percentage of .896 and stopped 1,115 shots. He finished tied for the league-lead in shutouts (3). Jung made his professional debut as an emergency goaltender with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs during the 2009-10 playoffs. He stopped 30 of 31 shots in the final 30 minutes of Mudbugs Game Seven loss to Rapid City in the Northern Conference Finals.
“I’m very excited to be coming to Wichita this season and helping the Thunder to try to win a championship,” commented Jung. “I’ve heard nothing but great things regarding the fans, coaching staff, and organization as a whole. I know they have some unfinished business and I’m looking forward to helping the team take care of that.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Jung played five seasons of junior hockey, spending time in the WHL and BCHL. He had a combined record of 55-84-27 and posted five shutouts. During the 2008-09 campaign, Jung was named the Edmonton Oil Kings team MVP. He also took home the Three Stars Award as well as the Humanitarian Award. In 48 regular season games, Jung posted a 20-20-3-5 record with a 2.56 GAA and a .912 save percentage to go along with three shutouts. His 20 wins, three shutouts and his 2.56 GAA are all team records
“Both these guys are going to be good additions to our hockey team,” said Head Coach Kevin McClelland. “Jesse is a pure goal scorer and we are glad to have him back in Wichita. Torrie is a young net minder who has a lot of starts under his belt and will solidify our rotation in net.”
Wichita Thunder season tickets for 2012-13 are now on sale. A $50 dollar non-refundable deposit is required for all season tickets. Contact the Wichita Thunder Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at (316) 264-4625 if you are interested in season tickets. Stay up-to-date on all the news this off-season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.