(FREDERICTON, NB) Forward Chris Clapperton, in the wake of helping the UNB Reds win their third U SPORTS University Cup in four years, is making a return to professional hockey.
Clapperton has signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Belleville Senators, of the American Hockey League, for the 2019-20 season.
Additionally, the Baby Sens have signed Clapperton to an amateur tryout agreement for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
In Belleville, Clapperton will reunite with former Reds defenceman Jordan Murray.
“Chris has been a difference-maker with us from his first year,” said Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “That escalated this year as he led the AUS in scoring, his first scoring championship since minor hockey. He’s an impact player, and he was recognized as such, being named as the Atlantic conference MVP.”
Clapperton led the Atlantic University Sport conference with 14 goals and 33 assists during the regular season, as the Reds compiled a 25-2-3 record.
He added a goal and two assists as UNB went undefeated in winning the second consecutive AUS championship.
At the 2019 Cavendish Farms University Cup, Clapperton scored once and had an assist as the Reds captured UNB’s 8th national championship.
Clapperton leaves UNB with a degree in Business Administration, three national championship rings, a national championship bronze medal, and two AUS championships.
According to MacDougall, he leaves a much better player.
“He’s become much more consistent and he’s able to find ways to be successful and productive,” said MacDougall. “He’s faster, he’s developed more of an offensive prowess, he can really make plays. Before, he might’ve been considered just a scorer, but he’s added to his game with his passing ability.”
Clapperton played 86 regular season games with the Reds, amassing 45 goals and 73 assists, and finishing with an astonishing plus/minus of +67.