Avon native Ben Smith is ready for a new adventure in professional hockey. He won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks and led the Toronto Marlies to the AHL championship and the Calder Cup last June.
Smith, 30, is playing professional hockey in Germany. He signed a three-year deal in June with Adler Mannheim, a team in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), the highest level of pro hockey in Germany.
He is one of eight foreign-born players on the team, whose season began in September and runs through March.
“We are convinced that Ben will be a great asset to the Eagles, who is on and off the ice a true leader and a model in terms of work attitude,” Adler CEO Daniel Hopp said when the team signed Smith.
In the first six games of the season, Smith has two goals and four assists for six points.
Last winter, Smith played in his first full AHL season since 2013, leading Toronto in goals (27) and points (59). The right wing was second in the team with 32 assists. His 27 goals and 59 points were AHL career-highs for Smith.
The Marlies are the top farm team for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Smith had eight game-winning goals with the Marlies with the most recent coming when he got the game-winning goal in the third period of a 4-3 win over Providence on March 11.
Not only did the eight game-winning goals tie a career high – Smith had eight game-winning goals in Rockford when playing with the Chicago Blackhawks top farm club in 2013 – but it was a new single season record for the Marlies and it led the entire AHL.
Smith was named the captain of the team in January.
He had at least one point in 11 of 13 games played from February 23 through March 24 including a run of seven consecutive games with Smith scoring a total of 12 points (four goals, eight assists).
Smith was recognized as one of 12 players to be named to the All-AHL team. Smith was named to the second team as voted by players and coaches in the league and media from around the AHL.
After spending most of the past four seasons in the National Hockey League with Chicago, Toronto, Colorado and San Jose, Smith has helped the Marlies to the best record in the AHL last winter.
The eighth-year pro out of Boston College won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 and was a key contributor to Chicago’s 2014 season that ended in the Western Conference finals.
Smith grew up in Avon and played his high school hockey at the Westminister School in Simsbury, graduating in 2006. He played his collegiate hockey at Boston College, graduating in 2010 and playing on two NCAA championship winning teams in 2008 and 2010.
|2016||San Jose (A)||AHL||14||8||2||10||2|
|NHL playoff totals||27||7||2||9||1|
|AHL playoff totals||38||10||16||20||0|