The Coventry Blaze have confirmed the signing of University of Nebraska-Omaha graduate Tristan Keck for the upcoming Elite Series.
The 25-year-old forward will make his first strides into the professional game under Coventry head coach Danny Stewart, having previously played his hockey at NCAA outfit Nebraska-Omaha.
In comments to the Blaze website, Stewart said: "Keck will bring a load of energy to our line-up. He skates well, plays in all situations and plays with some grit. He’s played in arguably the best conference in NCAA hockey against guys going straight to the NHL.
“He’s produced there, and I don’t see any reason why he won’t transfer that to the pro game here in the UK."
Keck, who spent his junior career with the Winkler Flyers in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, said: "I am very excited to join the Coventry Blaze. I cannot wait to get back on the ice to start my pro journey by playing in the 2021 Elite Series."
During his time with the Flyers, Keck scored at more than a point-per-game pace over his four-year spell.
The left-shot forward was named MJHL Rookie of the Year in 2012/13, winning the same honour across the whole Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) in the same year.
After leading the MJHL in goals over 2014/2015, Keck was honoured with the MJHL’s Most Valuable Player award and was a finalist for the CJHL MVP trophy.
An MJHL All-Star in three of his four seasons in the league, Keck served as an Assistant Captain for the Flyers during his final three years with the team.
The Manitoba native's NCAA debut came in 2016/17. The Canadian spent four years in a high-quality NCHC Conference, finishing with 58 points (27 goals, 31 assists) from 127 games.
Keck, who is renowned for his speed and quick release, was named in the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team during his spell at Nebraska-Omaha, an accolade for players who make off-ice academic achievements.
The Coventry Blaze begin their Elite Series campaign against the Manchester Storm on Saturday 3 April. Coventry and Manchester open the tournament at 2 PM, with the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers facing-off five hours later.