Checkers Receive First-Round Pick Jessiman,
Former NHL Penalty Minute Leader Worrell

By Cliff Mehrtens
Staff Writer
© 2005 The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An NHL first-round pick who signed for more than $1 million.

A former NHL leader in penalty minutes.

Neither reaches the ECHL often, but the Charlotte Checkers landed one of each in the past week, courtesy of the New York Rangers.

Forward Hugh Jessiman (pictured), the Rangers’ No. 1 pick in 2003 (12th overall) was sent to Charlotte after seven scoreless games in Hartford, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate. He responded with four points in the first two games, including a hat trick in Charlotte’s home opener Sunday.

On Wednesday, Hartford assigned rugged Peter Worrell, a 6-foot-7, 260-pound winger with 1,554 penalty minutes in seven NHL seasons.

“He’s got a great attitude, and is a real fun guy,” coach Derek Wilkinson said. “He’s here to get his game together, get in game shape and move back up the ladder. He’s a big man, with skills, and he’s tough as nails.”

Jessiman, a rookie, didn’t play much as a senior at Dartmouth last year because of an ankle injury.

“He’s really good with the puck,” Wilkinson said. “Learning the game away from the puck is his challenge. You can see why he’s a first-round pick, he’s got incredible offensive ability. He just needs to mature as a player.”

Jessiman, 21, skated at left wing on the Checkers’ top line, with center Ryan Cuthbert and right wing Dusty Jamieson.

“There’s pressure, but it’s not that hard when you’re having fun,” Jessiman said. “It’s a good group of guys.

“The (Rangers) wanted me to get more ice time, and it was … kind of a good thing to get down here, so I could play a little more.”