Pointing toward their first-ever season as members of the ECHL in the league’s 25th Anniversary season, the Evansville IceMen, proud affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League, continue to go about the business of constructing their player roster for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
On this date, the IceMen General Manager/Head Coach Rich Kromm has announced that standout defenseman PHILIPPE PLANTE has agreed to terms and affixed his signature to the bottom line of his Evansville contract for the 2012-13 ECHL season. Adhering to club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. In reaching accord on his new pact, Plante becomes the second IceMen player, both defensemen, to complete deals for the club’s debut in the ECHL.
A top-flight veteran defenseman of the highest order, PLANTE, 33, is approaching his 14th pro campaign and his second in the coat of arms representing Evansville pro hockey. The 6-0, 200lb bulwark of the blue line continued to add to his rich resume of outstanding career accomplishments and achievements in his IceMen premiere season of 2011-12, being paramount to his team’s lofty second place finish in the CHL’s Turner Conference.
In the 2011-12 campaign, the left-hand shooting rearguard fashioned 36-points in 65-games, composed of 12-goals, 24-assists with 50-PIM. His stellar +8 rating tied for second best for Evansville while his goal output matched Matt Gens for team top perch amongst the blue line brigade and his 7-PPG were also tied for second most for the IceMen and second most for all CHL league defensemen. One of Coach Kromm’s ace of the place penalty-killers extraordinaire, the native of Greenfield Park, PQ topped all CHL defensemen with 4-SHA (shorthanded goal assists), ranking circuit second overall. Moreover, Plante (PLONTE) ranked league-wide runner-up in goal-scoring shooting percentage among the back-liners at 12/86 for a mark of an efficient 14.0%. He was listed 12th overall in CHL scoring for the defense. His best premium plus performances of the last year were produced abroad, earning him healthy +3 ratings in an IceMen 6-2 victory at Bloomington on 1/6/12 and a 4-1 triumph 2/11/12 at Tulsa.
Plante’s exemplary leadership and consummate professionalism did not go unnoticed as his superlative season was crowned when he was honored by his teammates with the IceMen second annual Players’ Player Award for 2011-12.
GM/Coach Kromm is thrilled to have Plante’s polished approach and know-how back in Evansville’s defensive zone. “We are very excited to be able to bring Phil back for another season with the IceMen. Phil provided solid leadership for us last season and we look for him to bring that same character and stability to the table, again, this year.”
Evansville’s latest signee for the defense has been the ultimate model of consistency at every level of the minor pro game, having seen significant service for five years in the AHL, namely with the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Hamilton Bulldogs. He was under contract to the NHL Montreal Canadiens with the latter club. For three years, his address was listed in the IHL and for three more seasons, he called Muskegon his hockey home.
It was in Muskegon where he enjoyed some of his greatest grandeur and magical moments. In 2001-02, he helped spark the Fury to their second of four League Championships over a 6-year span and in 2006-07, he spurred the same team to the league division crown while achieving his best individual prolific performance. In that season, he amassed an astronomical 67-points in 75-games on 18-goals, 49-assists and brilliant +38 rating. Plante not only topped his title timber team in each key category among defensemen but he also finished #2 in league-wide defense scoring and #2 for best premium, plus rating. Prior to his arrival to the Tri-State region, he assembled three stellar seasons with the CHL Odessa Jackalopes.
For his entire pro career, Plante’s numbers read: 848-games; 113-goals; 314-assists; 427-points; 667-PIM.