NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. (Niagara Release) - Niagara men's hockey senior goalie Chris Noonan has become the second Purple Eagle within eight days to enter the professional hockey ranks, signing an amateur try-out (ATO) deal with the Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Noonan will join the Marlies in Rochester eight days after former teammate Scott Arnold signed a National Hockey League (NHL) deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Portage, Mich. native has become the 21st Purple Eagle to be actively playing pro hockey, joining former teammates Bryan Haczyk ('11 - Albany) and Paul Zanette ('11 - Rockford) in the AHL.
Niagara has placed several players in the Toronto Maple Leaf farm system, including Matt Caruana ('08), Scott Langdon ('08) and Kyle Rogers ('08). The former Purple Eagle will be with the Marlies for the remainder of the regular season and the postseason.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to play professional hockey," Noonan said. "As with all young kids growing up playing hockey, it always was a dream to play professionally. I am thankful that the Toronto organization is giving me this opportunity to take the next step in my career. I want to thank everyone at Niagara University, the coaches, players and the entire staff for helping me develop over the last four years."
Noonan is fresh off of a great senior season, where he was named the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) Goalie of the Year and to the All-AHA Second Team after recording a 1.61 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage, first nationally in both categories as of Friday.
The Michigan native's statistics this year not only were best in the nation, but also set a few records. Noonan's 1.61 goals-against average set a new single-season AHA record, while his average also places him in 16th place on the NCAA's single-season goals-against average list. The goalie's .944 save percentage also set a new single-season AHA record, while also placing in seventh place on the NCAA's single-season save percentage list.
The management major also finished his career with a .922 save percentage, which places him in a 20th place tie on the NCAA's career save percentage list.
"This is a great opportunity for Chris that is well deserved," head coach Dave Burkholder said. "Everyone with Niagara hockey feels that this is the beginning of a long professional career."
Noonan will join the Marlies on Saturday, who are in second place in the AHL's Western Conference. The six-foot tall goalie will be in uniform as the Marlies clash with the Rochester Amerks on Saturday night.