NORTH Vancouver's Mark Dekanich signed two major documents in two days last week, first inking a one-way NHL contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets July 1 before putting his name to his marriage certificate after wedding his new bride Elizabeth July 2.
The one-way free agent NHL contract means that Dekanich will be expected to act as the primary backup to starting Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason next season. The marriage certificate means he's no longer a free agent in the dating pool either.
The 25-year-old Colgate University grad spent the past three seasons in the Nashville Predators' organization, primarily with AHL's Milwaukee Admirals. In two stints with the big club last season he made it into one NHL game, stopping 22 of 25 shots in 50 minutes of play against the Los Angeles Kings. With Milwaukee during the 2010-11 season Dekanich posted a 23122 record with a 2.02 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and four shutouts, earning a spot in the AHL all-star game.
It's been a long road to get to this point but Dekanich is ready to stick in the NHL.
"I think I'm playing the best hockey of my career, and I strive to get better," he told The Columbus Dispatch. "I'm really excited about this opportunity, and I believe I deserve it. I've never been handed anything in my career. The work has just begun."
After swapping teams and then exchanging vows, Dekanich and his wife headed off to the Bahamas for their honeymoon. Fans can follow his antics on his entertaining Twitter account under the handle @dexshow.
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North Vancouver's Trevor Smith also inked an NHL contract at the start of the free agency period, signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Smith spent last season with the Syracuse Crunch and Springfield Falcons of the AHL, scoring 20 goals and 23 assists in 68 games with the two clubs.
Smith, 26, was signed as a free agent by the New York Islanders in 2007 and appeared in seven NHL games for the club - all during the 2008-09 season - scoring one goal.
The six-foot-one, 195-pound centre has played in 282 career AHL games, notching 92 goals, 192 points and 157 penalty minutes. Before turning pro Smith attended the University of New Hampshire, scoring 31 goals and 63 points in 78 career games with the NCAA team.
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