Junior forward Jeremy Welsh signed an entry-level NHL contract with the Carolina Hurricanes last night, announced Ron Francis, Director of Hockey Operations for the Carolina Hurricanes. Welsh will join the Hurricanes in Ft. Lauderdale for the team’s final game of the 2011-12 NHL season against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m..

“Of all of the college free agents available, we identified Jeremy as the one who most fit our organizational needs,” said Francis. “He provides another big body for us down the middle, and is a player who has shown character and leadership at the college level, in addition to scoring ability.”

Welsh joins former Union goaltender Keith Kinkaid (New Jersey Devils) as the second player in the past two seasons to sign an entry-level NHL contract. If Welsh were to dress on Saturday night at Florida, he would become the first former Union player to play in an NHL game since Duane Joyce '87 (Dallas Stars) in 1993-94, and the first from the Division I era at Union, which began in 1991-92.

Welsh, 23, recorded 27 goals, 17 assists (44 points) and 47 penalty minutes in 40 games for the Dutchmen this season, shattering the school single-season goals record previously held by Mario Valery-Trabucco '10. He ranked first on the team and fourth in the NCAA in goals scored. The Bayfield, Ont., native had nine points (5g, 4a) in eight postseason games for the Dutchmen, including a five-game goal-scoring streak to lead Union to its first ECAC Hockey Championship and first Frozen Four berth in school history. For his efforts, Welsh was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Month for March, Most Outstanding Player of the ECAC Championship and Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA East Regional in Bridgeport, CT.

Welsh completes his three-year collegiate career with 100 points (53g, 47a) in 119 games for Union. He became the 21st player to record 100 points at Union, notching an assist in last night's 3-1 loss to Ferris St. in the Frozen Four.

The preceding information was provided by Jeffrey Weinstein of Union College Athletics.