April 30, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University hockey team has signed four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 1999-2000 season, head coach Jim Culhane announced today.
The newest Broncos are defenseman Josh Akright (Haslett, Mich./St. Louis Sting), defenseman David Cousineau (Waterloo, Ont./Stratford Cullitons), left wing Benoit Gagnon (Hawkesbury, Ont./Hawkesbury Hawks) and center Shaun Rose (Martensville, Sask./OCN Blizzard). All four freshmen will be 20 years old when the season starts and are experienced winners, having led their respective teams to either regular season, playoff or provincial championships this year.
Akright (6-2, 205) skates for one of the top Junior "A"
teams in the United States. His St. Louis Sting are battling
Detroit Compuware for the North American Hockey League playoff championship and will go after the U.S. national title in May. Described by Culhane as a tough, physical defenseman, Akright compiled two goals, nine points and 176 penalty minutes in 52 games.
Cousineau (6-1, 190) captured the Jr. "B" Midwestern
League scoring title, breaking the circuit's points record for
a defenseman with 92 points on 36 goals and 56 assists in 45 games.
He played on a Stratford Cullitons squad that won 43 of 48 games
en route to regular season and playoff championships. Cousineau
is skating opposite of the Chatham Maroons' Brent Rumble in the
provincial Jr. "B" championship series. Rumble (6-2,
190), a left winger,
committed to WMU during the early signing period. Cousineau's brother, Dan, played four seasons at Ohio State (1995-99).
Gagnon (5-10, 185), pronounced GONE-yo, was one of the top scorers for the Hawkesbury Hawks of the Jr. "A" Central Hockey League, amassing 26 goals and 50 assists in 41 games. Gagnon led the Hawks to the Robinson Division title and has his team involved in the CHL playoffs. Gagnon's skills are such that Culhane plans to use the freshman on special teams.
Rose (6-1, 190) was a first-team All-Star selection for the OCN Blizzard of the Jr. "A" Manitoba Hockey League. In 62 games, Rose scored 43 goals and totaled 99 points, paving the way for a team regular season title and a provincial playoff championship.
"We have brought in an older freshman class and with their maturity level, I think it will be an easier transition to college hockey for them," says Culhane.
Media contact:Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
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