Copley signs contract with Capitals

HOUGHTON – Pheonix Copley, goaltender for the Michigan Tech hockey team, will forego his final two seasons of eligibility according to an announcement by Huskies coach Mel Pearson released early today. The North Pole, Alaska, native has signed a contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

Copley finished his sophomore season with a 10-13-6 record, a 2.51 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He was twice named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. For his two-year career, Copley appeared in 54 games with 18 wins and four shutouts.

“I’d like to thank Pheonix for his time with our team,” said Pearson. “We wish him the best as he follows his dreams of playing in the National Hockey League.

“As we recruit top-end players, we’ll be faced with losing some of them early as was the case last year with Jujhar (Khaira, who signed with the Edmonton Oilers). We look forward to watching their success as their careers progress.”

Copley, who was a free agent, received a two-year, entry-level contract beginning with the 2014-15 season.

He will join the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears on a tryout agreement this spring.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Copley. “Without Coach Pearson and the staff here believing in me and giving me the opportunity here, I would not be where I am now. I want to thank them and my teammates for helping put me in this position.

“My experience at Michigan Tech has been great. The support from the fans and community has been something I’ll never forget.”

In 2012-13 Copley was named Most Valuable Player of the Great Lakes Invitational after back-to-back shutouts, the first by a Husky goaltender since 1956.

Tech still currently has three goaltenders slated for the 2014-15 roster: Jamie Phillips, who has appeared in 22 games in the last two seasons and would be a junior next year; Matt Wintjes, who got into two games during his freshman season in 2013-14; and Devin Kero, a Hancock alum who played for the British Columbia Hockey League’s Merritt Centennials last season and announced his commitment in January.