by Sheila Kerry

December 20, 2013, Charlottetown, PEI (ISN) – UPEI Men’s Hockey Head Coach Forbes MacPherson is pleased to announce that Halifax Mooseheads star forwards Darcy Ashley and Brent Andrews have committed to join the Panthers for the 2014-15 season.

“Our UPEI Men’s hockey program is very proud to add top quality individuals and players like Brent and Darcy,” said MacPherson. “These two guys are winners, they are strong and responsible players in all facets of the game, and they are proud Islanders. This is a great announcement for the future of our program.”

Ashley, a native of Alberton, and Andrews of Hunter River, are completing their final season in the QMJHL with Halifax. The two were key contributors to the Mooseheads’ QMJHL Championship and Memorial Cup Championship wins last season.

For Andrews, choosing UPEI for the next step in his hockey career was a decision that came down to a desire to help build a championship team in his home province.

“It will be great to be part of something special at UPEI. Islanders are hard working hockey people and true hockey fans that deserve a championship,” said Andrews, a 6’2,” 205 lb centre and a 7th-round draft choice of NHL’s Nashville Predators. “It will be nice to be able to play at home after five years of being away.”

Ashley said playing with the Panthers is an honour and is hoping to add to his championship résumé.

“After winning (the Memorial Cup), you are always left with a taste for it and the will to keep winning,” said the 5’5,” 175 lb right winger who has scored over 20 goals in each of the past two seasons with the Mooseheads. “It would be great to win a championship at home and play in front of family and friends on a regular basis. The team has been taking great steps forward and I hope to be a big part of the next steps.”

As for fitting in at the university level, Ashley said he is willing to play whatever role the coaching staff demands of him.

“The AUS is a gritty, fast-paced league. Hard work will take a person a long way and I plan on being ready to produce and help bring the team success,” said Ashley, who was named 2012-13 “Hardest Working Player” in the QMJHL.

Both forwards are in the midst of career-best seasons in the QMJHL. Andrews has 16 goals and 37 points, while Ashley has contributed 14 goals and 41 points. Though they will remain focused on the remainder of their junior season, the pair will be keeping a close eye on the Panthers.

“The Panthers have a lot of talent and character and are an exciting team to watch. Darcy and I often talk about it, and we are excited to be part of it all next season,” said Andrews.

“We are pleased that Darcy and Brent have both committed to UPEI and to Panther Hockey. Having followed both of their careers, there is no doubt that the addition of these two quality individuals will have a significant impact not just in the arena but on the UPEI campus as well,” said UPEI Athletics and Recreation Director Bill Schurman. “This opportunity to add quality individuals with character, talent, and experience, combined with deep Island roots will contribute to a bright future.”

Special holiday offerings are now available from UPEI Athletics and Recreation for a UPEI Men’s Hockey season pass for the remaining regular season games for only $99. Purchasers get to pick their seat and have first option on playoff seating. For more information, visit Panther Central or call 566-0368.