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Esmark 18U defenseman Ruffner signs NAHL tender

December 3, 2019
The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U defenseman Lane Ruffner has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Wichita Falls Warriors of the NAHL's South Division.
The 18-year old western Pennsylvania native, who is a senior at Greater Latrobe High School in Latrobe, PA, is in his second season with the U18 AAA Stars. Prior to joining the U18 Stars squad, Ruffner had previously skated for the U16, U15 and U13 Esmark Stars.
To date this season, Ruffner (6'1", 180 lbs.) has tallied 5 points, all assists, in 12 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, to date, he has recorded 17 points (1 goals, 16 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 33 games played.
During the 2018-19 NAPHL season, he registered 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist), in 19 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) games. Overall, he recorded 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 60 games.
During the 2017-18 NAPHL season, Ruffner registered 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists), in 25 16U AAA league games. Overall, he recorded 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists), including 1 power play goal, in 48 games.
During the 2016-17 NAPHL season at U15, he registered 2 points (2 assists), in league games. 
Last season, Ruffner helped lead Esmark's U18 squad to the Mid-American District Championship and a spot at the USA Hockey 18U Tier I National Championships. 
"Lane earned this opportunity because of the hard work and dedication he has brought to the rink every day for the past five years," said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "He is an outstanding defensive player, certainly among the best in our league, and he now being given an opportunity to take his game to the next level."
Ruffner is the second member of the 2019-2020 Esmark Stars to secure a tender with an NAHL squad for the 2020-2021 season.  Teammate Dustin Gergerach previously signed with the NAHL's Johnstown Tomahawks.
A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders, which include two (2) tenders exclusively used on players from the NAPHL - plus or minus any trades - which became active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft, which will be held on June 2, 2020.
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