April 2, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. – Three Notre Dame senior hockey players have taken the next step in their hockey careers as they inked contracts to start their professional hockey careers this week.
Defenseman Neil Komadoski (Sr., Chesterfield, Mo.) signed a multi-year contract with the Ottawa Senators, the team that made him their third-round draft choice in the 2001 entry draft on April 1. Komadoski will begin his pro career with the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators on Friday night when they play in Norfolk, Virginia versus the Norfolk Admirals.
The 6-2, 211-pound blueliner finished his final season at Notre Dame with five goals and 15 assists for 20 points. For his career, Komadoski played in 146 games with 10 goals and 52 assists for 62 points. He accumulated 124 penalties for 300 career minutes to rank second on the all-time penalty-minute list for the Irish. One of Notre Dame’s alternate captains in 2003-04, Komadoski was named the winner of the CCHA’s Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award for his community service work with the Irish.
“This is something that I’ve looked forward to for a long time,” said Komadoski.
“Getting drafted after my freshman year was the first step. This is step number two. I just have to keep it going. This is a good opportunity to keep playing this season. I got on the bike right away after last Saturday’s game (NCAA loss to Minnesota), since I didn’t know if this would happen right away or over the summer.”
Brett Lebda signed a multi-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. He will start his pro career with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Defenseman Brett Lebda (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) an undrafted free agent, was signed on April 1st by the Detroit Red Wings to a multi-year contract. Notre Dame’s top-scoring defenseman this season will begin his pro career in the same building his collegiate career ended. Lebda will play for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Friday night versus the Chicago Wolves at Van Andel Arena. The Irish lost in the NCAA tournament last weekend to the University of Minnesota at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
A second-team CCHA all-star, Lebda led Notre Dame defensemen in scoring this season with six goals and 18 assists for 24 points. He finished tied for fourth all-time with 152 games played in his Notre Dame career. Among Irish defensemen, Lebda ranks 10th on the scoring list with 26 goals and 59 assists for 85 career points. He racked up 105 penalties in his career for 253 minutes.
Signing with the Red Wings capped a stellar career for the 5-11, 194-pound defenseman.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed about since I started playing hockey. Today is a dream come true for me,” said Lebda before leaving for Grand Rapids.
“There were times this season when I was kind of panicking, since I didn’t know what was going to happen after Notre Dame. I came to terms with the fact that I would probably have to go to a camp next year. At the end of the season, I started getting some calls and then some offers from a few teams and the wheels started turning. I’m glad we got something done quickly. That makes my life easier,” added Lebda.
Senior defenseman Tom Galvin will start his pro career with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League.
Joining Komadoski and Lebda among Irish defensemen signing contracts this week was Tom Galvin (Miller Place, N.Y.). The slick skating defenseman signed on Tuesday, March 31 with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and will begin his pro career on Friday night when they play host to the Toledo Storm.
Galvin finished third among Irish defensemen in scoring with a goal and 18 assists for 19 points on the season. For his career, Galvin played in 142 games with eight goals and 50 assists for 58 points. He amassed 51 penalties for 113 minutes in that span. The 5-10, 190-pound defenseman led Irish defensemen in scoring during the 2001-02 season when he had four goals and 19 assists for 23 points.