Courtesy of WMU Athletics/Adam Bodnar
Note: For WMU Hockey score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373
Five products of the Western Michigan hockey program have made opening-day rosters in the National Hockey League for the upcoming 2013-14 season.
Kevin Connauton (Dallas Stars), Joe Corvo (Ottawa Senators), Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings), Pat Dwyer (Carolina Hurricanes) and Mark Letestu (Columbus Blue Jackets) will
all represent WMU this season.
Connauton, who has yet to make his debut, won a spot on the Stars opening roster this season. He had been playing in the AHL for the Chicago Wolves the past two seasons before
the Vancouver Canucks traded him to Dallas. Connauton played one season with the Broncos, scoring seven goals and tallying 11 assists from the blue line during the 2008-09
With Jamal Mayers retiring after winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Corvo becomes the elder-statesmen of Bronco hockey alums in the NHL. He re-joins the
Senators, where he played two seasons from 2006-08. In total he has appeared in 683 NHL regular season games and 50 playoff games in 11 seasons.
At this time last year DeKeyser was sitting in class and preparing for his junior season with the Broncos. Now he is earning major ice time on the blue line with the Detroit Red Wings.
DeKeyser signed at the end of last season and immediately made the jump and an impact with the Red Wings. He appeared in 11 regular season games to help Detroit make a
push for the playoffs. He appeared in two playoff games before suffering an injury, but later finished out the year with the Grand Rapids Griffins, helping them to the Calder Cup.
Dwyer begins his sixth season in the NHL and with the Hurricanes. He has made a living becoming one of Carolina’s top penalty-killers during his career and has netted at least one
short-handed goal in each of the past three seasons. So far he has appeared in 270 regular season games in his tenure with the Hurricanes.
Mark Letestu helped the resurgent Blue Jackets push for a NHL playoff spot last season after scoring 27 points in the lockout shortened year. Columbus rewarded him with a new
two-year contract to keep him in Ohio’s capital until 2015. Since being traded to the Blue Jackets in 2011 he has been a key piece to their success.
WMU hockey alums Matt Tennyson and Luke Witkowski also spent the preseason with their NHL teams. Tennyson, who made his debut with San Jose last season, was sent to the
Sharks’ AHL affiliate in Worcester. After playing with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the preseason, Witkowski was sent to Syracuse to begin the season.