Kimberley product Matt Wilkins has graduated from the college ranks and landed his first professional hockey contract.
Tuesday morning, the Reading Royals of the ECHL announced the signing of Wilkins, 25, to a one-year ECHL contract.
The 2015-16 season marked the final year of Wilkins’ NCAA Div. 1 career with Union College. Over 146 games, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound forward tallied 29 goals and 85 points.
The 2012-13 season saw Wilkins and Union win the ECAC championship, before claiming both the ECAC title and NCAA championship in 2013-14.
Following the 2015-16 NCAA season, Wilkins signed an amateur tryout (ATO) with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, suiting up for two games.
Wilkins played 91 games with the KIJHL’s Kimberley Dynamiters from 2007-08 through 2008-09, amassing 40 goals, 44 assists and 84 points before moving on to the Junior A ranks.
In 37 games with the BCHL’s Trail Smokeaters (2009-10), Wilkins registered 25 points before being traded to the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL.
With Brooks, Wilkins went on to light up the AJHL, collecting 64 goals and 176 points over a 120-game career with the Bandits. During the 2011-12 campaign, Wilkins’ 99 points in 60 games were enough to lead the entire AJHL in scoring.
His 65 assists that year stand as a Brooks Bandits single-season record, while his 99 points remain tied with Jeff Marler (2000-01) for a single-season record.
The Reading Royals play out of the ECHL’s East Division and serve as an affiliate for both the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (American Hockey League) and Philadelphia Flyers (NHL).
The 2015-16 season saw the Royals stack up a record of 36-26-6-4, good enough for third in the ECHL East.
The Royals are set to open the 2016-17 ECHL season on Oct. 15 when they host the Elmira Jackals.
The Royals play out of the Santander Arena in Reading, Pa., a city of nearly 88,000 located approximately 102 kilometres northwest of Philadelphia.