Tuesday, January 13, 2009

North Stars acquire Opie from Wichita Falls

The Traverse City North Stars gave up forward Ryan Amin – along with their designation as the only team in the North American Hockey League to have the same 25-man roster as they did at the start of the season – in acquiring winger Tim Opie from Wichita Falls on Tuesday.

Opie (pictured), a 5-foot-9, 160-pound winger from Troy, saw action in 24 games this season for Wichita Falls, scoring four goals and assisting on a fifth. He had 26 minutes in penalty time and an even plus-minus rating. Opie played with the Little Caesars midget major program in 2007-08, finishing fourth in the Midwest Elite Hockey League with 32 points in 25 games. In three seasons in the Little Caesars program, Opie had 16 goals and 31 assists in 79 regular season MWEHL contests.

His father – Tim Opie, Sr. – also coached current North Stars assistant coach Chad Fournier when he played for the NAHL’s Lakeland Jets in the 1990s.

“Tim’s got tremendous offensive potential,” TC head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo said. “He’ll have to fight for ice time along with everyone else, but we’re excited to get him in here.”

Amin, who longed for more ice time and an increased role, is likely to get both with the Wildcats.

“Ryan’s such an awesome kid,” Palumbo added. “When I talked about it with him, he really embraced the idea. I know he wanted more ice here, but this couldn’t have been a more amicable process.”

Amin played in 13 games, delivering a trio of assists and 15 minutes of box time.

“We wish Ryan nothing but success,” Palumbo said. “We think he’s going to see a lot more game action down there and really further his career. Now, Tim gets to be a lot closer to home, and we think he has every bit as bright a future.”

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