UPDATED: Civitarese in AHL Hershey Bears’ fold

David Civitarese called me on Saturday, so here are some quotes and more details on his signing with the AHL Hershey, the 2009 and 2010 Calder Cup champions.

Here’s my original blog post with the changes included.

The Hershey Bears announced Friday morning that the club signed former Tigers forward David Civitarese to an amateur tryout agreement. Additionally, Civitarese has signed an American Hockey League contract effective for the 2012-13 season.

It was a relief for Civitarese, who had excelled at an amateur camp last summer held by the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ NHL affiliate and was wrapping up his schoolwork over spring break until Wednesday afternoon.

“(His advisor/agent) had heard from a couple ECHL teams but I was hoping to hear from the Capitals,” he said after Saturday’s pregame morning skate in Hershey. “Once we heard from them on Wednesday it all happened pretty quickly and I was flying out at 6 a.m. Thursday.”

He signed the AHL-only contract officially on Thursday and practiced with the team for the first time on Friday.

“It’s a great situation,” he said. “I’m happy to get the opportunity to play at a higher level.Being put into a leadership role as a senior for the first time helped contribute to my growth. It was a huge boost of confidence for me. They saw me play a couple times and evidently, they liked what they saw.”

Civitarese, 22, 6-foot-2, 204 pounds, recorded 30 points (14g, 16a) in 121 games in a four-year career at Colorado College.  He had 10 points (8g, 2a) his senior season.

The Bears host the Charlotte Checkers at 5 p.m. Mountain Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, when Civitarese may make his debut. He said he will be a healthy scratch Saturday night and will use the chance to learn more about the Bears’ systems.

“I’m going to learn as much as I can,” the physics major said. “Everything I can do to get better will be crucial.”

The defensive forward is not too concerned about making his pro debut quickly, knowing that being ready is important and the Bears are gearing up for the playoffs. He also has the relative security of being under contract next season.

“It’s definitely a plus for me,” he said. “(The Bears) have a history of success here. For sure, the coaches, everything, is top notch.”

The idea of making it to the NHL would be the fulfillment of a dream, but the all-WCHA academic honoree is not to getting too far ahead of himself. He knows he needs to become a good AHL player first.

“I know I need to prove myself at each level in order to move up,” he said.  “I’ll be learning and watching how the older players do things.”

Civitarese is the fourth of the six Tiger seniors to move into the pro ranks. Defenseman Gabe Guentzel signed a similar deal with AHL Syracuse while wing Tim Hall signed an ATO with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. Defenseman Arthur Bidwill will sign with the CHL’s Allen Americans this weekend.

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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 20-plus years of experience.

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