The Cardiff Devils have announced their first new face for the 2018/19 season, introducing their fans to 2014 Calder Cup champion Mike Heddon.The announcement was made live on Twitter, with head coach Andrew Lord, owners Steve King, Brian Parker, Kelly Hughes, Craig Soshtak and General Manager Todd Kelman present.
Also announced were returnees Layne Ulmer, Justin Faryna and hometown player Matt Myers.
A veteran of 210 AHL games, mostly for the Texas Stars, Hedden has played his hockey across the pond in Europe since 2014.
He first moved to Medvescak Zagreb in the KHL, and after 12 games moved on to finish his season with Ässät in Finland, putting up 19 points in 39 games.
For the past three seasons he’s been a dominant force in the DEL, playing for the Straubing Tigers, hitting at least 30 points in each of his three years in Germany.
In his first year for the Tigers he posted 34 points, following that up with a 44 point season in 2016/17.
Last year he reached 31 points, finishing in the top 5 in team points for his third straight year, and finished up his DEL career with 109 points in 155 games.
The highlight of his career came in his final year in North America, posting a career high 55 points in 74 games for the Texas Stars in the AHL, and his 9 goals in the playoffs were the most in the league that year, with two of those goals coming in game 5 of the final to help Texas lift the title over the St. John’s Ice Caps.
Hedden has also represented Canada during the 2014/15 Spengler Cup, helping the Canadians to the semi finals, scoring twice in three games.
Now joining the Devils for his fifth year in European hockey, he’s likely to becoming a point leader on the team.
“We wanted him bad and now we’ve landed him” Andrew Lord explained at the ‘Cardiff Devils Calgary Summit’ that GM Todd Kelman streamed on Twitter.
“He’s gonna bring a ton of speed, ton of speed down either wing. He’s great around the net, you watch a lot of his goals in recent years, a lot of tip ins, a lot of rebounds.
“He goes to the hard areas, he competes well, he can play in all situations and he’s a great guy, he’s going to fit in with the guys character wise in the room.
“He’s a winner based on that Calder Cup there and he’s very very hungry to get back to winning ways.
“I think he’s a huge addition for us in the room and on the ice. He’s going to be a real dynamic, fun player to watch with his speed and the way he plays the game.”
Familiarity probably paid a part in Hedden’s decision to join the Devils, he played on the same Thorold Blackhawks side as Joey Martin in the GHL during the 2003-04/2004-05 seasons, and has a very close friendship with Sean Bentivoglio as well.
Hedden will be just the first of a couple of new faces around Ice Arena Wales for the upcoming season, with the rest set to be announced over the coming weeks.
With Hedden’s wealth of experience in Europe, it won’t be a surprise to see him being a leading force in this years Champions Hockey League campaign, as the Devils face off against Växjö Lakers of Sweden, SC Bern from Switzerland and Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.