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Will Merchant, Evan Wardley Return to Steelheads from Texas

Tuesday, February 8th
Will Merchant, Evan Wardley Return to Steelheads from Texas

BOISE, IdahoIdaho Steelheads forward Will Merchant and defenseman Evan Wardley have been released from their Professional Try-Out (PTO) contracts with the Texas Stars and return to Boise, Steelheads Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Tuesday.Merchant, 28, returns to the Steelheads following six games with AHL Texas, scoring his first AHL goal on January 16 in Charlotte during his third contest of his second-career AHL stint. He was signed to a PTO on January 2 following 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points with two power play goals, one shorthanded goal, and a plus-10 rating. The Eagan, Minn. native currently sits sixth on the team in scoring while being one of six players to breach the 10-goal mark and holds the fourth-best point-per-game average (0.78) on the team despite missing over one calendar month.The 6-foot-1 forward has played all five professional seasons in Idaho and sits in the top-10 on the Steelheads ECHL all-time list in goals (5th, 69), games played (6th, 240) assists (7th, 88), and points (7th, 157). In 295 career games, he owns 79 goals and 100 assists for 179 points between the Steelheads and Greenville Swamp Rabbits.Wardley, 27, returns after his second AHL PTO signing of the season, playing in two games with AHL Texas following his signing on January 2. The Vulcan, Alb. product has played six games between AHL Texas and the Syracuse Crunch and earned his first AHL assist on November 19 against Cleveland while with the Crunch. He owns three assists in 14 games with the Steelheads during the 2021-22 season along with a plus-six rating and 32 penalty minutes, sitting third on the team in penalty minutes.Since making his ECHL debut with the Wheeling Nailers during the 2014-15 season, the 6-foot-3 defenseman has posted seven points (1-6—7) in 59 games. He debuted with the Steelheads on Feb. 15, 2020 in Toledo following a four-year stint with the University of Lethbridge.The Steelheads return to Idaho Central Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7:10 p.m. to kick-off a three-game weekend against the Tulsa Oilers. Single-game tickets are available for all home games during the 2021-22 regular season by going to idahosteelheads.com or calling 331-TIXS! Make sure to secure your FloSports subscription for the 2021-22 season to lock in all Steelheads games and action from around the ECHL.

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