The Washington Little Capitals are pleased to announce that 18u Team Captain Zach Murray has signed his tender contract with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The Ice Rays are a member of the NAHL South Division.
A 2019 draft pick of the Ice Rays, Murray impressed their staff at preseason main camp and continued that trend through the current Little Caps season. Murray’s work rate and determination to continue his development shone through, and the Ice Rays decided to make it official. The tender means Murray is a protected player on the Ice Rays roster, and he is now slated to play NAHL games with the Ice Rays during the holiday break. He will also continue to skate with the Little Caps as he looks forward to joining the Ice Rays full-time next season.
Murray is one of the more accomplished players in recent Little Caps history. Last season saw him finish as the teams 2nd leading scorer with 54 points in 44 games and earn an invitation to play for the AYHL All-Star Team that competed in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament during the Robertson Cup weekend. Additionally, he is one of three 2001-born players on the 18u team vying for their fourth consecutive trip to the USA Hockey National Tournament (along with Connor Leslie and Max Thiessen). This season has been more of the same, pacing the team with 20 points in 15 games.
“Corpus Christi is getting a special young man,” says Hockey Director and 18u Head Coach Matt Thomas. “His stat line grabs your attention, but that’s really only part of the story. Zach is a remarkable competitor, tireless worker, and our gold-standard for commitment to the game… he’s earned this.”
Executive Director Doug Plocki coached Murray two seasons ago as a 16u player and sees a similarly bright future. “The on-ice product speaks for itself- he’s a great player. He has the right mix of confidence, drive, and humility to go far in this game. But he’s also an exceptional young man. He’s a natural leader, and certainly knows what it means to sacrifice for something he wants. He’ll go far in life, on and off the ice, it’s great to see him rewarded for his efforts. But as he also surely knows, the real work has just begun.”
For his own part, Murray is grateful for his time with the club and coaching staff. “The Little Caps organization has helped shape me into the player and person I am today. The coaches have always held me accountable and pushed me past my comfort level— challenging me to get better every day.”
Murray will join a number of other former Little Caps currently playing in the NAHL; Reid Leibold (Maryland Black Bears, RPI Commit), Drew Lorinchak (New Mexico Ice Wolves), Finn McLain (New Mexico Ice Wolves), and Trent DeNuccio (Springfield Jr Blues).
While Murray remains focused on the Little Caps and his role as captain, he’s understandably excited about his future. “I’m looking forward to next season… getting a chance to play in an extremely competitive league.”