Former Ohio State men’s ice hockey senior defenseman Sean Duddy has been signed by the Gwinnett Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League.
The Gladiators are the ECHL affiliate of two National Hockey League teams – the Buffalo Sabres and the Phoenix Coyotes. Gladiators coach John Wroblewski told The Lantern that the Sabres had identified Duddy as a potential prospect, and the relationship he had with OSU’s coaching staff helped seal the deal.
“He is a guy who brings a lot of intangibles to the table, displayed by his captaincy at Ohio State,” Wroblewski said. “He is a guy who is willing to do all the big things -blocking shots, and certain things that are very important to winning hockey games, things that not a lot of guys like to do.”
The signing comes less than a week after former OSU senior goalie Cal Heeter agreed to terms of a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I’m excited,” Duddy told The Lantern Tuesday. “They have a great group of coaches and a great management system here. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Duddy was a key contributor for the Buckeyes during his time at OSU. In four years of competition, he totaled 24 points (two goals and 22 assists), playing in 124 games. He spent the last two years as a co-captain of the team.
OSU ended its season March 3, when it was swept by Notre Dame in a best-of-three series in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. Duddy tallied 14 points (one goal and 13 assists) this past season.
The Gladiators are located in Duluth, Ga., and are in first-place in the Eastern Conference in the ECHL. They next play Wednesday against the Cincinnati Cyclones, and Wroblewski said Duddy will be in the lineup.
The ECHL is the Double-A level of professional hockey in North America, and Wroblewski said Duddy has the potential to move to the next level – the American Hockey League – and possibly to the NHL after.
“What you can look at is the tremendous character he has. He’s got good size and is mobile. Those are instant recipes for success right there,” he said.
Wroblewski said Duddy will have to improve, though, like every player that makes the transition from collegiate to professional hockey, in order to be successful.
“You have to be able to go out and demand that you can dictate the pace of the game, whatever it is you do. As a defender, you have to be able to hold a gap and take space away from the opposition,” he said.
“The game is faster, guys are stronger. I have to work on my strength and my skating, those are the two biggest things,” Duddy said.
Duddy is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given to the collegiate hockey player that excels in four different areas – classroom, character, community and competition. The winner will be announced at the Frozen Four in Tampa Bay, Fla., on April 5 and April 7.
Duddy will graduate from OSU Sunday with a bachelor’s degree in finance.