Erik Cole, a top forward for Clarkson the past three seasons, has decided to forego his final year with the Golden Knights after signing a professional contract with the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League.
Clarkson’s leading scorer the past two seasons, Cole signed a three-year deal with the Carolina organization and is expected to play the final games of the regular season and in the playoffs for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the International Hockey League.
A native of Oswego, N.Y., Cole completed his junior campaign by helping to lead Clarkson to a 17-15-3 overall record and a fourth-place tie in the ECAC with a 9-8-3 league mark. Through 33 games he scored 30 points, including a team-high 19 goals. A top specialty-teams player, he netted five power-play markers, two shorthanded tallies and two game-winning goals, and was named a second-team ECAC all-star.
Cole completed his three-year Clarkson career with 103 points on 52 goals and 51 assists through 103 games. A 1998 third-round NHL Draft choice of Carolina (71st overall), Cole was named ECAC co-Rookie of the Year in 1998. As an All-America in his sophomore season, Cole helped to lead the Golden Knights to the ECAC regular-season and tournament titles with a team-high 42 points on 22 goals and 20 assists.
“We’re really happy for Erik,” stated Clarkson head coach Mark Morris. “Obviously he has a huge upside. Where he goes from here will be determined by the breaks he gets …. For him not to come back in his senior year is a tough thing to swallow, but at the same time to see your guys move on and have a career is something that in the long haul is positive for the program. He has worked hard to get to where he is at right now and we wish him all the best in the future.”