TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League announced that they have signed former ECHL defensemen Jay Leach (pictured) and David Schneider.
The Mississippi Sea Wolves are the ECHL affiliate of the Lightning of the NHL and the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. After being forced by Hurricane Katrina to wait two seasons, Mississippi will finally be able to celebrate its “Decade in the Den” on Oct. 27 when it hosts Reading. The Sea Wolves have sold the most season tickets in team history as fans eagerly anticipate their return to the ice at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for the first time since Apr. 15, 2005. Located in Biloxi, the Sea Wolves had a Voluntary Suspension each of the last two seasons under the ECHL’s hardship provisions after the arena and the team office housed within suffered extensive damage.
Selected in the fifth round (115th overall) by Phoenix in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-5 and 219-pound Leach began his professional career in the ECHL with Mississippi in 2001-02 and had 16 points (3g-13a) and 116 penalty minutes in 70 regular season games and two points (1g-1a) and eight penalty minutes in 10 Kelly Cup Playoff games. He played in the ECHL each of his next four seasons and has 51 points (13g-38a) and 344 penalty minutes in 180 regular season games and two points (1g-1a) and eight penalty minutes in 10 Kelly Cup Playoff games with Augusta, Long Beach, Mississippi and Trenton.
The 27-year-old Leach played in the AHL in 2006-07 where he had nine points (2g-7a) and a team-leading 128 penalty minutes in 73 regular season games and four assists and 13 penalty minutes in 13 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs for Providence.
Signed after completing his college career at Princeton University, the 27-year-old Schneider had one assist and five penalty minutes in two games for Trenton in 2001-02 and returned to the Titans in 2002-03 and had 16 points (5g-11a) and 22 penalty minutes in 26 games. He has played each of the last four seasons in Finland where he had 75 points (26g-49a) and 291 penalty minutes in 184 regular season games.