July 24, 2003

NMU's Alen Signs With Nhl's Anaheim Mighty Ducks

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MARQUETTE, Mich. â€Ã‚“ TheNational Hockey Leagueâ€Ã‚™s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim announced Wednesday (July 23)the signing Northern Michigan University defenseman Juha Alen to a three-yearcontract.  No other terms were madeavailable. Ã‚ 

Alen, who would have been entering hissophomore season this upcoming year, played in 40 of Northernâ€Ã‚™s 41 games lastseason.  He had 4 goals and 19 assiststo rank seventh on the team in scoring. He also posted a +8 plus-minus rating for his rookie campaign.

The Tempere, Finland native was one of threeNMU icers selected in the NHL Draft in June, and was one of two Wildcats fromthe 2002-03 squad to sign with an NHL team. 

Alen was taken by the Ducks in the thirdround, the 90th pick overall.  The other Wildcats taken in the draft were sophomore DirkSouthern, also selected by Anaheim but in the sixth round, and incomingfreshman Zach Tarkir to New Jersey in the fifth round. 

Alen joins graduated senior Mike Stutzel as apro signee.  Stutzel, a forward, signedwith the Phoenix Coyotes in April.

Alen played his junior hockey with the Sault Ste. MarieIndians for the North American Hockey League. 

â€Ã‚œWeâ€Ã‚™re elated for Juha,â€Ã‚ said Walt Kyle, NMU hockeycoach.  â€Ã‚œWe thank him for being a partof the Wildcat hockey program where we â€Ã‚“ his coaches, teammates and the NMUfans â€Ã‚“ have had an opportunity to watch him grow from a very good defensemaninto a pro hockey-caliber defenseman.

â€Ã‚œI think the fact that Juha and Mike both signed with NHLteams speaks volumes about the respect the NHL has for the Northern program,and the attention the scouts are giving our players,â€Ã‚ Kyle added.  â€Ã‚œWith my own NHL coaching background, I knowwhat it takes for players to make it to the big league, and itâ€Ã‚™s exciting forme and everyone involved with Wildcat hockey to have a chance to watch playerswith NHL potential compete at NMU. 

â€Ã‚œWhen players leave early, itâ€Ã‚™s hard on a program, but werealize itâ€Ã‚™s getting that guy a step closer to his dream,â€Ã‚ said Kyle. â€Ã‚œOne ofour goals at Northern is to recruit players capable of playing in the NHLsomeday. We want to help them develop their skills and then successfully movethem toward their goals.  These twocontract signings are a sign of things to come for other NMU players.â€Ã‚

 

 



Prepared By
Dave Faiella
Sports Information Director
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