UMass Dartmouth All-American Jonathan Ruiz ’19 has signed a professional contract with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the Eastern Coast Hockey League (ECHL), while serves as a farm team for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. The Cyclones are the defending ECHL Brabham Cup regular season champions heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
A native of Williamstown, N.J., Ruiz becomes the third Corsair to sign with an ECHL club in the last two years alone, as he joins former UMass Dartmouth standouts Casey Shea ‘18 (Quad City Mallards/Vegas Golden Knights) and Jerry Laakso ’18 (Wheeling Nailers/Pittsburgh Penguins).
The 2017-18 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Ruiz was an American Hockey Coaches Association All-America honoree who also earned first team all-New England accolades from the New England Hockey Writers Association. Jonathan, who amassed 42 goals and 31 assists for 73 points in 65 games played in a Corsair uniform, led the nation in both goals per game (27 in 27 contests) and power play goals (13) during a season that saw UMass Dartmouth advance to the MASCAC championship game against Fitchburg State.
“Not many Division 3 players get a chance to play professionally, and I’m definitely excited about the challenge ahead,” Ruiz said. “I’m going to work hard and take advantage of this great opportunity.”
A team captain this past winter, Ruiz collected 53 goals and 42 assists for 95 points in 103 collegiate appearances that includes two years at Johnson & Wales University. Jonathan also served as team captain for the Team USA Ball Hockey Team which has competed in Canada, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“Jonathan made an immediate impact on our program from the day he set foot on campus,” Corsair Head Coach Erik Noack said of Ruiz. “Everyone knew who he was in every game we played, and he had to battle being marked on every shift. He was a great leader for our program who left an indelible mark on UMass Dartmouth hockey, and we are very excited that he is able to take the next step in his career and play at the professional level.”
Ruiz will join his Cyclone teammates for the start of training camp on September 29th.