Two former Big Green players sign with NHL
By Elisabeth Lubiak, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 6, 2012
The opening of this year’s National Hockey League free agency period brought positive news for Lee Stempniak ’05 and Tanner Glass ’07, two former Big Green men’s hockey players who both signed professional contracts this weekend.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 NHL Early Draft, Stempniak played for the St. Louis Blues, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Phoenix Coyotes before he joined the Calgary Flames last summer.
On Friday, Stempniak re-signed with the Flames, locking himself into the next two seasons with an average salary of $2.5 million per year.
Dartmouth head hockey coach Bob Gaudet said that Stempniak possesses impressive agility and prowess on the ice.
“Stempniak is an unbelievably skilled player—probably one of the highest skilled players to play at Dartmouth,” Gaudet said. “He was creative and had the absolute total player package.”
The former Big Green captain totaled 151 career points during his four years at Dartmouth, with 63 goals and 88 assists, ranking him as the second all-time hockey player for the Big Green.
Glass, who also served as captain for the Big Green during his time at Dartmouth, will switch from the Winnipeg Jets to the Pittsburgh Penguins this year.
He signed a $2.2-million two-year contract with Pittsburgh, a move that hockey analysts believe is an attempt by the Penguins to add toughness and brute strength to the squad.
Big Green associate head coach David Peters explained that Glass has always been a powerful figure on the ice.
“He played with a lot of tenacity and brought a lot of physical energy to the game,” Peters said.
During his Dartmouth career, Glass played in 124 games, earning 82 points with 51 assists and 31 goals.
His move to Pittbsurgh will reunite him with former Big Green player Ben Lovejoy ’07, who is entering his fifth season with the Penguins. This pairing marks the third time that Big Green players have reunited on the ice as NHL teammates.
Both Stempniak and Glass exhibited outstanding leadership ability in their respective roles as captains of the Dartmouth team during their time here, according to Peters.
“They were both great leaders because they led by example,” Peters said. “They both came to practice every day and were the greatest players on the ice. They never took a drill off. When you have your best players doing that, everyone follows suit.”
Gaudet said that Glass and Stempniak always served as positive role models, both on and off the ice.
“[Glass and Stempniak] did a lot of charity work and volunteering in the community and were all-around super representative of Dartmouth and the community,” Gaudet said.
Both coaches remain impressed by the two former Dartmouth athletes and look forward to many more years of professional hockey from them.
“Glass and Stempniak are very seasoned professional hockey players,” Gaudet said. “I expect them to play for quite awhile.”
Peters said that both players have grown quite a bit in talent since their time playing for Dartmouth.
“They’ve worked really hard, continuing to improve their games,” Peters said. “They deserve every opportunity they’re getting right now.”
Dartmouth hockey has a strong presence in the NHL, extending the team’s impact beyond the college years, according to Gaudet.
“It’s fun for these guys to play because they have a lot of Dartmouth players to play against in the NHL,” Gaudet said.
He said he enjoys following their recent accomplishments in the NHL.
“It’s really nice for me and our team to see them play at the highest level in the world,” Gaudet said.