INDEPENDENCE, Mo.--Adrian College men's hockey goaltender Tyler Parks has decided to forgo his senior year of eligibility to sign a professional contract with the Missouri Mavericks of the East Coast Hockey League, which is the "Double-A" affiliate of the National Hockey League's New York Islanders.
This marks a return to Parks' home state of Missouri, where he is a St. Louis native. The Mavericks are based in Independence, which is a suburb of Kansas City. He is being assigned uniform number 31 after wearing 30 for the Bulldogs.
Parks this month becomes the second member of the back-to-back champion Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Bulldogs to sign professionally, joining senior defenseman Chris Leone who played for the ECHL's Greenville (S.C.) Swamp Rabbits.
Parks adds goaltending depth to a Missouri team that is currently 52-15-3-2 on the season and leading the Quad City Mallards, 3-0, in their ECHL Western Conference Quarterfinals of the Kelly Cup playoffs.
"Tyler has gotten an opportunity to play hockey at a high level and the time seemed right for him to move on," said second-year Adrian head coach Adam Krug '12. "Tyler worked extremely hard every day he was in Adrian. He is a pro. From his mentality to his ability, I think he has what it takes to play for a while. Hopefully this opportunity gives Tyler what he needs to prove himself at the next level."
In his only season for the Bulldogs after playing the previous two years at NCAA Division I St. Lawrence University out of ECAC Hockey, Parks helped backstop Adrian (24-4-1 overall) to a sweep of NCHA-South Division, NCHA regular-season and NCHA Harris Cup titles and a trip to the NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinals. He recorded a .931 save percentage, 1.90 goals-against average and third in the conference with an 8-2-1 mark in 630 minutes, 34 seconds between the pipes for third, fourth and fourth in the conference rankings---all career highs at the collegiate level.
In one of his best moments of the 2015-16 campaign, Parks played the final 28:11 to preserve the 4-1 win against St. Norbert in the conference championship game. He stopped 15 of 16 shots he faced in an emergency basis with a limited warm-up. He posted a career-best 32 saves in a 5-1 NCHA win versus Lake Forest on Jan. 15, and made 13 saves to chalk up his first NCAA shutout at Aurora six days earlier.
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