The Hershey Bears have signed forward Kevin O’Neil to a one-year AHL deal. O’Neil made his AHL debut with the Bears last year, playing two games for Hershey on a PTO.
In 53 games with the South Carolina Stingrays last season, O’Neil tallied 50 points (24g, 26a). He also played three games on an AHL PTO with the Colorado Eagles.
We’ve signed forward Kevin O’Neil to an AHL contract for the 2023-24 season. He skated in two games for us last season, scoring his first AHL goal on Dec. 31.
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) July 25, 2023
O’Neil first signed with the South Carolina Stingrays in March of 2022, turning pro after his final college hockey season with the University of Connecticut. He tallied 10 points (6g, 4a) in 10 games to close out that ECHL campaign and would sign again with the Stingrays for the 2022-23 season.
While on that ECHL deal, O’Neil signed two PTOs with the Bears, playing his first AHL game on December 27, 2022. He netted his first AHL goal in his second game with the Bears, a power play marker against the Providence Bruins.
O’Neil continued to impress at the ECHL level after that. Despite only getting into 53 games, he tied for the Stingrays’ lead in goals (24) and ranked third on the team in total points (60).
“He’s been a hard worker, a quick learner and he’s established himself as one of the top forwards in our league,” said Stingrays head coach Brenden Kotyk.
O’Neil put up six points (5g, 1a) in three games between March 31 and April 2, including a hat trick during a 11-0 gong show against the Cincinnati Cyclones. He was named ECHL Player of the Week for his performance, becoming the first Stingrays player to earn the honor since 2021.
With a surplus of players fighting for spots in Hershey, O’Neil will likely play most of next season in South Carolina again. Should he return to the Bears, however, he could reunite with a teammate from his college years. O’Neil played alongside Joe Snively for two seasons at Yale, even spending time together on the Bulldogs’ first line.
Bears Sign Kevin O’Neil to AHL Contract for 2023-24 Season
(Hershey, PA – July 25, 2023) – The 2023 Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears announced today that the club has signed forward Kevin O’Neil to an American Hockey League contract for the 2023-24 season. The announcement was made by Hershey vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer.
O’Neil, 25, played in two games with Hershey last season on a professional tryout. He made his AHL debut on Dec. 27 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and potted his first AHL goal on Dec. 31 versus Providence.
The Latham, New York native played 53 games for Hershey’s ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays last season, posting 50 points (24g, 26a). He tied for the team lead in goals and ranked third in points during his rookie campaign. He earned ECHL Player of the Week honors for the week of March 27-April 2 after posting six points (5g, 1a) in three games.
The 5’11”, 180-pound forward also played three games last season with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.
Headline photo: @thehersheybears/Instagram
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