One of the top defensemen in the program’s history, Ben Danford is set to continue his hockey career after signing a contract with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL, announced by the team on Tuesday night.
“It’s been a crazy few days,” Danford said. “Honestly, I was just looking for a spot to play Division I hockey and was grateful to do that with a great program and at a great school like Canisius. Coach Smith gave me a lot of opportunities that helped me grow and develop as a player and that’s all I can really ask for.
“Everything has been a win-win for me during my time at Canisius. I wasn’t expecting any of this but I plan to just keep working hard and giving it my best shot. My Canisius teammates, family and friends keep reaching out to me and it means a lot to have that kind of support.”
During his standout career, Danford led all Canisius defensemen in scoring in each of his four seasons. The Stillwater, Minn. native never missed a single game in his career, playing in all 158 contests since first arriving on campus. His streak is the longest in the school’s history and also the 13th-longest in NCAA history.
A third-team All-Atlantic Hockey honoree as a senior, Danford accumulated 84 points on 10 goals and 74 assists during his career. His 74 assists are the most in the program’s history by a defender, while his 84 points rank second in the school’s record book. Danford also helped lead the Griffs to the program’s first conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance by winning the 2013 Atlantic Hockey title, collecting all-tournament team honors.
“Starting in the AHL is a tremendous opportunity for Ben to showcase his talent and ability,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “It is also a great opportunity for Manchester to see not only what Ben is about as a player, but also as a person. It’s an exciting time to see our relationship develop as coach and teammate to now being a fan of Ben Danford the professional hockey player. Recruits arrive here on campus with the hopes of playing professional hockey and Ben, through his tremendous work ethic, has now been able to accomplish that after a terrific career at Canisius.”
Manchester is the top affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Danford is the fourth Griff in the last five seasons to spend time in the AHL (Kyle Bushee, Cory Conacher and Carl Hudson).