Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Lane Ruffner has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Wichita Falls (TX) Warriors.
The 18-year old western Pennsylvania native, who is a senior at Greater Latrobe High School in Latrobe, PA, is in his second season with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to joining the U18 Stars squad, Ruffner had previously skated for the U16, U15 and U13 Esmark Stars.
To date this season, Ruffner (6'1", 180 lbs.) has tallied 5 points, all assists, in 12 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, to date, he has recorded 17 points (1 goals, 16 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 33 games played.
During the 2018-19 NAPHL season, he registered 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist), in 19 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, he recorded 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 60 games.
During the 2017-18 NAPHL season, Ruffner registered 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists), in 25 16U AAA league games. Overall, he recorded 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 48 games.
During the 2016-17 NAPHL season at U15, he registered 2 points (2 assists), in league games.
Last season, Ruffner helped lead Esmark's U18 squad to the Mid-American District Championship and a spot at the USA Hockey 18U Tier I National Championships.
"Lane earned this opportunity because of the hard work and dedication he has brought to the rink every day for the past five years," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "He is an outstanding defensive player, certainly among the best in our league, and he now being given an opportunity to take his game to the next level."
Ruffner is the second member of the 2019-2020 Esmark Stars to secure a tender with an NAHL squad for the 2020-2021 season. Teammate Dustin Gergerach previously signed with the NAHL's Johnstown Tomahawks.
Wichita Falls will be returning to the NAHL and the league's Southern Division after a three-year hiatus
The team, which is owned by Robbie Hockey LLC, an entity owned and operated by Mary Anne Choi, will begin play during the 2020-21 season and play out of the 6,500 seat Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The NAHL has had a team in the Southern part of the United States since 199, with the South Division first forming in 2003.
The division currently has seven teams competing in the NAHL: Amarillo Bulls (Amarillo, TX), Corpus Christi IceRays (Corpus Christi, TX), Lone Star Brahmas (North Richland Hills, Texas), New Mexico Ice Wolves (Albuquerque, New Mexico), Odessa Jackalopes (Odessa, TX), Shreveport Mudbugs (Shreveport, LA), and Topeka Pilots (Topeka, KS).