Estero, Fla.-- The Florida Jr. Blades continue to add depth to their defensive core with interstate signings. Matt Benolkin from Minnesota joins the Florida Jr. Blades for the 2012-13 season.
The 6-foot-0, 170 lbs. defenseman joins the Jr. Blades after playing with the Burnsvile Blaze and Holy Angels high school clubs where he appeared on scouts radars. "Matt was identified by many of our scouts," said head coach and general manager Tad O'Had. "He was seen as a go to player who has the potential, in the future, to play major minutes in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Scouts classified Benolkin as a shifty, intelligent defenseman with potential to play in all three zones. His intelligence on the ice will make him a key contributor on the Jr. Blades power play.
Benolkin joins Florida with the intent to continue training and to build on his frame. "I know I can make gains with the training the team provides," said Benolkin. "The number of players the team has graduated over the last two seasons speaks very highly to the quality of the development."
The Jr. Blades train at Athletic Republic-Germain Arena. The elite training center is home to the reigning ECHL Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades. "The Jr. Blades players receive the same level of training that the pro teams do," said O'Had. "I know that we can help Matt be stronger, faster and more explosive."
Benolkin, who had success with his high school teams and the acclaimed Russel Stover AAA, joins a Florida squad with hopes of continued success.
"Our goal this year is to continue the winning tradition of Blades hockey," said O'Had. "With the signing of Matt Benolkin, we are one step closer."