Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson announced that four players will join the Irish roster in the fall of 2008.

Irish Hockey Signs Christian Minella To National Letter-Of-Intent

Nov. 17, 2005

Notre Dame, Ind. – University of Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson announced today that right wing Christian Minella (Aurora, Colo.) has signed a national letter-of-intent to join the Irish hockey program in the fall of 2006. Minella joins three players – Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.), Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) and Ryan Thang (Edina, Minn.) – in Notre Dame’s 2006-07 freshman class. All three of those players signed in the November of 2004 early-signing period and deferred to the 2006-07 season.

In making the announcement, Jackson said, “We are pleased to add a player like Christian Minella to the Notre Dame hockey program. He brings size and speed to our roster. He joins Kevin Deeth, Kyle Lawson and Ryan Thang to give us a group of four that we are very excited to have joined the program. They bring a high level of skill and leadership to Notre Dame and should make a significant contribution to our future success.”

Minella, Deeth, Lawson and Thang will step in to fill the void left by the graduation of six seniors on the current roster. That group includes forwards Matt Amado, Tony Gill, Tim Wallace and Mike Walsh, defenseman Chris Trick and goaltender Rory Walsh. Here’s a look at Minella and the three players who signed last year:

Christian Minella is a 6-2, 200-pound right wing who is in his third season with the Sioux City Musketeers in the United States Hockey League. As the team captain in 2005-06, Minella has three goals and three assists for six points in the first 16 games of the season along with 17 minutes in penalties. The big, physical forward and his teammates are currently in fifth place in the USHL’s Western Division with a 6-7-3 record, just three points behind second-place Omaha. In 2004-05, Minella helped Sioux City to second place in the USHL’s Western Division with a 37-17-6 record while scoring seven goals with 15 assists for 22 points in 58 games. In his rookie season, Minella had seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 53 games while receiving 65 minutes in penalties. A native of the Pittsburgh area, Minella is a product of the Pittsburgh Hornets Midget program where he played with current Irish freshman Christian Hanson.

Irish assistant Andy Slaggert on Minella: “Christian is a big, physical forward who brings elements to a team that we need – size, speed and toughness – all the things that are necessary in a winning program. Christian is a leader and continues to develop his offensive skills. I expect him to be able to step in and compete for a regular spot next season.”

Kevin Deeth is a 5-7, 165-pound center who is currently playing for the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. In 17 games this season, Deeth has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 17 games with 23 penalty minutes. Green Bay is currently third in the USHL’s Eastern Division with a 7-10-0 record. Deeth signed his national letter-of-intent in November of 2005 while playing at Shattuck St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault, Minn. He helped Shattuck to a 53-7-2 record and the Under-18 national championship in 2004-05. In 62 games, Deeth had 17 goals and 48 assists for 65 point while accumulation 92 penalty minutes. A highly skilled playmaker with tremendous speed, he played on the Under-18 World Cup team along with fellow recruit, Kyle Lawson in the summer of 2004. The Gig Harbor, Wash., native has played for the U.S. Select Under-16 and 17 teams from the Pacific District in 2002 and 2003. Deeth was a first-round selection of the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL Futures Draft in August of 2004.

Kyle Lawson is a 6-0, 195-pound defenseman who is playing this season with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. A product of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program, Lawson has four goals and three assists for seven points in 15 games for the Storm to rank 14th in scoring among USHL defensemen. The Storm are currently third in the USHL Western Division with a 7-8-3 record. A native of New Hudson, Mich., Lawson signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in November of 2004 while playing for the U.S. Under 18 Team. In 31 games with the U.S. Team, he had three goals and 15 assists for 18 points and played on the gold-medal winning U.S. Under-18 World Championship team. He followed that by being drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 198th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes. A product of the Honeybaked AAA program, Lawson’s strong performance in the Under-17 Festival in 2003 earned him a spot on the national team. He was selected in the first round of the USHL Futures Draft by Tri-City in August of 2004.

Ryan Thang is a 6-0, 186-pound right wing who is currently in his second season with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League. With the Stampede, Thang is fourth in scoring with five goals and five assists for 10 points in 15 games with one power-play goal and one short-handed tally. Sioux Falls is currently in first place in the USHL’s Western Division with a 12-3-0 record. Thang signed his national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in November of 2004. The hard-working forward had nine goals and 22 assists for the 31 points in 58 games for the Stampede in 2004-05. The Edina, Minn., native becomes the 14th Edina High School alum to attend Notre Dame. A member of Team Minnesota’s Under-16 and 17 teams, Thang played for the U.S. Select 17’s in 2003 and was captain of that team. He was selected by Sioux Falls in the second round of the USHL Futures Draft in August of 2003.

Notre Dame Hockey Letter-Of-Intent Signees
Player Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Sh. Hometown/2005-06 TeamKevin Deeth ** C 5/26/87 5-8 165 L Gig Harbor, Wash./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)Kyle Lawson ** D 1/11/87 6-0 195 R New Hudson, Mich./Tri-City Storm (USHL)Christian Minella RW 7/5/85 6-2 200 R Aurora, Colo./Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)Ryan Thang ** RW 5/11/87 6-0 186 R Edina, Minn./Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
** signed letters-of-intent in Nov. of 2004