Monday, August 15, 2016

Murphy, Cooper sign with Varsity Reds

Two former Saint John Sea Dogs have signed CIS Letters of Intent with the UNB Varsity Reds.

The V-Reds announced on Monday that defenseman Matt Murphy and forward Oliver Cooper have both stated their intentions to play for the team. QMJHL veteran Mark Simpson also signed with UNB – a squad that is losing just three players to graduation.

Murphy, acquired by Saint John from the Quebec Remparts mid-season, posted eight goals and 21 assists in 37 games with the Sea Dogs. He added four goals and five assists in 17 playoff games.

“He’s close to being able to step in at a top-notch pro level,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall in a release. “A lot of times, defence mature a little bit later than forwards, so I think what he’s going to bring is top-notch skills. He’s a great person, and I think he’s going to be fit, challenge among our top fitness guys.”
Cooper played with Saint John for three seasons – 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 – before being traded to the Charlottetown Islanders, where he spent the final years of his junior career.

As an overage player last season, Cooper recorded 24 goals and 25 assists in 61 games. He added six goals and three assists in 12 playoff games.

“He played in Saint John when they were a powerhouse, and had an opportunity to go over to PEI and help start their build,” said MacDougall. “Last year, he was their team captain, so I think he brings a lot of leadership.”
Murphy and Cooper, both Fredericton natives, plan on studying business.

The Varsity Reds are the reigning CIS University Cup champions and will host the national tournament in 2017 and 2018.

Last year’s UNB squad featured former Sea Dogs forwards Stephen Anderson and Mike Thomas.

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