KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Lonnie Clary formerly of Marian University men's hockey has signed a professional contract to play for the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
"I couldn't be more proud of Lonnie and the opportunity he has with Knoxville," commented head Marian men's hockey coach Zach Gaynor. "Lonnie has been a proven winner through juniors, college, and now has the opportunity to play for a winning program in the SPHL. Lonnie's team-first attitude, toughness, and character have rewarded him with the opportunity to play professional hockey."
Clary transferred to Marian after playing one season with Divison I Rensselaer Polytechnic Institue (RPI). His first season as a Sabre saw him skate for the ACHA program in their first season of existence and helped lead Marian to a conference championship and berth in the ACHA regional tournament. In 18 games that season he scored 12 goals and added 15 assists for a total of 27 points to earn himself a spot on the NCHL first team all-conference list.
He then would skate in 50 games in two seasons with the NCAA team earning a total of five assists, three of which came in his first season. Clary becomes the seventh Sabre men's hockey player to sign a professional contract since 2016 and is the fourth forward from that same group to go pro.
The SPHL is a 10 team professional hockey league based out of Huntersville, North Carolina with teams located primarily in the southeastern portion of the United States. The league spans as far north as Evansville, Indiana and Peoria, Illinois. Knoxville is currently tied for fourth in the league at 24-16-5 with 11 games left in the season. The Ice Bears next game is Friday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. (CST) at home against Peoria.