Bowing out of the NCAA tournament opened the door for Notre Dame hockey players to embark on their professional careers. Left winger Mario Lucia, captain Steven Fogarty and left winger Sam Herr all signed this week, with Lucia off the board first as the Minnesota Wild signed their former draft pick.
Minnesota the assigned Lucia to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Iowa Wild. Lucia made his debut Wednesday in a 3-2 Iowa loss. He didn’t register any shots on goal.
“There is a lot of work left still to do but I’m looking forward to the process,” Lucia said in a statement after signing. “I would like to thank the coaching staff and support staff at Notre Dame for everything they have given me. I also want to thank my family and my friends for all the support throughout my life and I also want to thank my teammates for making my experience at this University and creating memories that I wouldn't trade for anything.”
Lucia signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Wild that will begin with the 2016-17 season. He played in all 37 games for Notre Dame this season with 12 goals and 12 assists. Over the course of his four-year career, Lucia played in 151 games, scored 61 goals and added 49 assists.
Minnesota drafted him 60th overall in 2011.
Center Steven Fogarty, who served as Notre Dame captain the last two seasons, followed Lucia’s lead within a couple days. The New York Rangers signed Fogarty to an entry-level contract after originally making him a third round draft pick in 2011.
Fogarty will play with the Hartford Wolf Pack, also in the AHL, for the remainder of the season. He scored 10 goals and added 13 assists in 37 games this season.
“It’s an extreme honor to sign with the Rangers,” Fogarty said. “I wouldn't be where I am today without the opportunity the coaching staff game me here at Notre Dame. I’m so thankful for the memories over the last four years, and for the coaching staff and my teammates. They say college is the best four years of your life and that was true. This is just the start, but I’m one step closer to my dream.”
Herr, a free agent after the season, sorted through some options before agreeing with the Ontario Reign, an AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. Herr agreed with the Reign midweek and will join the team this weekend, although he won’t start participating until Monday. He’ll likely play Wednesday.
“I’m excited by it all,” Herr said in a text message.
Herr scored 10 goals and added eight assists this season in 37 games. Hockey East named him Best Defensive Forward in a vote by the league’s coaches.