Professional hockey will return to Oswego State when the Syracuse Crunch and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the Campus Center Ice Arena for the fourth annual Shapiro Motor Sales of Oswego Classic.
Former Oswego State forward Derrell Levy is expected to play for Syracuse after signing a tryout contract with the team on Sept. 14. Levy played for the Oswego State Lakers from 2005-09, accumulating 44 points on 10 goals and 34 assists in 97 games. During his senior season with Oswego State, Levy had a career high 14 assists and 17 points.
Although he never put up gaudy numbers, Levy did the little things that helped the team to be successful. The Lakers were 77-24-8 during Levy’s collegiate career that included the school’s first ever national championship in 2007.
"He’s up there in all-time character players," coach Ed Gosek said. "He’s in the same league as (Brad) Dormiedy and (Neil) Musselwhite and (Tyler) Lyon as far as conducting their lives as you would like to see all your players conduct themselves."
Gosek coached Levy during his four years at Oswego State and said that he was one of the most popular players not just amongst the fans, but in the community as well.
Fans remember Levy as an aggressive player who gave his full effort while on the ice. At 5-foot-10, 187 pounds, Levy showed that you didn’t need to be big to be physical. In his four years with the Lakers, Levy registered 77 penalty minutes.
Gosek said he will always remember Levy as an overall great human being.
"He understood the importance of lifestyle," Gosek said. "He understood what it meant to be part of our program and to be humble, hardworking and appreciative. I think our local community and students appreciated Derrell, and that game in and game out you were going to get his best effort every night. He wasn’t going to do anything selfish to hurt the program on or off the ice."
Following graduation in May 2009, Levy joined the West Michigan Blizzard of the All-American Hockey League (AAHL). Levy tallied 38 points on 11 goals and 27 assists in 33 games for the Blizzard last year. Levy helped the Blizzard to a 26-14 record, losing in the championship game to the Evansville Icemen.
The fourth annual Shapiro Motor Sales of Oswego Classic exhibition game will be the first for the Penguins. Past opponents for the Crunch include the Rochester Americans and the Binghamton Senators. The Crunch are undefeated when playing in the Campus Center Ice Arena.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is affiliated with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Syracuse is beginning its new affiliation with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. The Crunch had previously been affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the two teams parted ways in spring 2010.
It is unclear whether the Crunch will keep Levy on the roster following the exhibition game, because the contract he signed only guarantees him a chance to compete for a position on the team. The signing of Levy for the game at Oswego State is expected to generate excitement for the game and to help sell tickets.
"For him to get this opportunity, we’re excited for him," Gosek said. "He certainly has the physical ability. He has the right attitude so I know he’s going to fit in fine. Is he going to be a difference maker where they could justify keeping him? Let’s hope so."
Tickets for the game are available at the Campus Center Box Office. Tickets for adults are $10 while tickets are $3 for Oswego State students with their ID as well as minors. The puck drops at 7 p.m.