BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – The Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, are proud to announce that Mark Bennett, a hard-working forward with an elite two-way game, has signed a Standard Player Contract (SPC) and will suit up for the Beast for the 2017-18 ECHL season.
Bennett, 26, is entering his third season in the ECHL after having started his professional career with the now-defunct Elmira Jackals.
He enjoyed a fantastic four-year stint with one of the top hockey schools in the NCAA, Union College, where he reached the pinnacle of all college hockey and won a NCAA National Championship in 2013-14. Bennett established himself as a premier two-way forward and notched 16 points in 71 games from 2011-12 to 2014-15 with Union before moving to the professional ranks.
The Oakville native had interest from other clubs but elected to sign with Brampton to be close to home. He’s one of many Greater Toronto Area players who see playing close to home as a benefit to their careers.
“He’s an Ontario player who wants to be close to home and be in Brampton. There wasn’t a lot of convincing to get him to come here,” said Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk.
“I had a few offers I really wasn’t too excited about, but when Brampton came about I thought it was a great opportunity,” Bennett said. “It was an easy decision for me, and being close to home is nice as well.”
Bennett brings a ferocious 200-foot two-way game to the Beast’s lineup and Chaulk is elated to bring his grit and leadership into the Beast organization.
“You know what you’re getting when you get a Union product, so we're excited to have him here,” Chaulk said of Bennett, “He takes a lot of pride and respect in playing at both ends of the ice.”
The veteran forward plays a hard-nosed, but disciplined, game and often finds himself fighting for pucks in corners. Despite being known as an elite two-way forward, the Beast are hoping Bennett can step-up and be a force in the lineup and a menace against other teams’ top lines.
The six-foot, 205-pound forward spent the last two seasons in the ECHL with the Elmira Jackals where he tallied 45 points and 34 penalty minutes in 112 games, and was a top-10 scorer on the team in 2016-2017.
Despite being a top-end player for the Jackals, Chaulk believes Bennett will have a chance to carve out an even bigger role with the Beast this season.
“We feel he can do more here given the opportunity,” Chaulk said.
After watching Brampton’s record breaking 2016-2017 season from afar, the three-year vet also believes the Beast will give him the best chance to succeed. Along with the chance to have a large role on the squad, Bennett expressed belief in the club’s direction and appreciation of the Beast’s culture.
“I want to be part of a growing organization,” Bennett said, “and they’re certainly going in the right direction.”