(Courtesy of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees)
HIDALGO, TX: May 12, 2003 The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League made history today by signing goaltender Jeff Levy for the 2003/2004 season. Levy becomes the first player signed by the Killer Bees in franchise history. Jeff is a proven goaltender that has an outstanding work ethic and strong character, said Killer Bees Head Coach Tracy Egeland. Goaltending is the most important position to build a team around, and I am excited to begin the building process today with Levys signing.
Levy (leh-vee), a 32 year-old native of Salt Lake City, Utah, joins the Killer Bees after spending two seasons (00/01 - 01/02) with the CHLs El Paso Buzzards. With El Paso, Levy combined for a 41-33-9 record and a 2.96 GAA in 85 games. He attended training camp last season with the American Hockey Leagues Utah Grizzlies, who serve as the top affiliate of the NHLs Dallas Stars. The 60, 180-pound goaltender played college hockey from 90/91 91/92 at the University of New Hampshire (NCAA). Levy combined for a 35-20-4 record and a 3.26 GAA in 59 games played over two seasons at UNH. He was the best freshman in the country in 90/91, as he was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year, and was named Second Team NCAA East All-American.
The NHLs Minnesota North Stars drafted Levy as their seventh selection in the 1990 NHL Draft, and the North Stars placed Levy right to work following his college career. Levy went 1-1-0 in 3 NHL preseason games in 92/93. He combined with North Stars goaltender Jon Casey to produce a 6-0 shutout over the Saint Louis Blues. The North Stars assigned Levy to the Kalamazoo Wings, Minnesotas former top affiliate, of the International Hockey League (IHL), where he appeared in 28 games. Levy also played one game in his rookie campaign with the Dayton Bombers of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
Levy followed his rookie season in 93/94 playing with Kalamazoo and Dayton again, but in a reverse role as his first year. He appeared in 31 games with Dayton and 2 with Kalamazoo. Levys name would continue to be heard throughout the ECHL, but not associated with Dayton after the 93/94 season. The netminder joined the ECHLs Huntington (WV) Blizzard in 94/95 and led the squad in games played (36) and saves (957). He set the ECHL single game postseason record for saves in a period during the playoffs stopping 28 shots (3/24/95), and led the ECHL in playoff save percentage with a 92.1% percentage.
A personal business venture placed Levy out of hockey for four seasons, but he continued to stay in shape during his absence from the ice. Levy began competing in triathlons and currently continues competing as a way to stay in shape and condition. His return to the ice came in 99/00 as a back-up goaltender with the ECHLs Jacksonville Lizard Kings, where he appeared in 12 games. Levy stepped back into goaltending spotlight in 00/01, joining the El Paso Buzzards of the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL). He finished the season ranking ninth amongst league goaltenders with a 3.09 GAA, leading the squad in all goaltending categories and setting the El Paso franchise single season record for saves with 1517. His hard work was recognized by the WPHL, who named Levy as a finalist for the Scott Brower Award (presented annually to the leagues top goaltender).
Levy continued with another strong season in 01/02 with El Paso, grabbing a career and franchise best 2.69 GAA, despite only appearing in 29 games due to injury. He once again led El Paso in all goaltending categories. Levy enters his seventh professional season this year and brings a career record of 67-88-15 in 195 games. He has a career GAA of 3.80 and a career save percentage of 88.5%.
It is an honor to be a part of this inaugural franchise and I am certainly honored to be the organizations first signee, said Levy. I am as excited in coming to Rio Grande Valley as the people here in the Rio Grande Valley area are about having hockey step into their community. Killer Bees office. For more information concerning Killer Bees hockey, please visit their website at killerbeehockey.com.