New Hampshire forward Derek Bekar has signed with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, foregoing his final year of college eligibility.
Bekar, who turns 23 in September, ranked fourth in NCAA Division I scoring last season with 60 points in 35 games and was named second-team All-Hockey East. He was also fourth in the nation in goals with 32, helping the Wildcats to an NCAA Final Four appearance. A strong special-teams player, Bekar led New Hampshire in goals on the power play (13, third in Division I) and on the shorthand (5, first in Division I).
St. Louis selected the 6-2, 175-pound Bekar in the eighth round of the 1995 NHL draft. In three years at New Hampshire, he had career totals of 65 goals and 67 assists for 132 points in 108 games. In 1995-96, Bekar was chosen to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
Bekar’s early departure leaves New Hampshire without three of its four 50-point scorers from 1997-98, all of whom ranked in the top nine in the nation.