Bears sign Helmer, Amadio

The Hershey Bears announced today that defensemen Bryan Helmer and Greg Amadio have been signed to contracts for the upcoming 2008-09 season.

Helmer, 36, is a veteran of 134 games played in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes. He has also played in the American Hockey League with the Albany River Rats, Worcester IceCats, Manitoba Moose, Grand Rapids Griffins and most recently the San Antonio Rampage. With the Rampage in 2007-08, Helmer scored five goals and assisted on 15 others for 20 points. He also accumulated 53 minutes in penalties last season in 66 games played.

One of the AHL’s most durable defenseman, Helmer has skated in all 80 regular-season games in a season four times, including both 2004-05 and 2005-06 with Grand Rapids.

"I’m very excited to be here," Helmer said. "Hershey has always been a great organization, and I’ve talked to a lot of past players that love it there. They (the Bears) are always right there in the end it seems playing for the Calder Cup, and I’m glad to be on board and be a part of it."

All told, Helmer has amassed 112 goals and 342 assists for 454 points in 848 career AHL games. He enters the 2008-09 season ranked 19th in AHL history in games, and second only to John Slaney (519) in career points by a defenseman.

A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Helmer was a member of Albany’s 1995 Calder Cup championship team, and was an AHL First Team All-Star in 1998 and a Second Team selection in 2006.

Amadio, 27, has 208 games of AHL experience, including 50 games in 2007-08 with the Binghamton Senators. He recorded two assists and 120 minutes of penalties with Binghamton last season.

Also a native a Sault Ste. Marie, Amadio has totaled three goals, 12 assists and 486 PIM over the last four AHL seasons with Binghamton, Portland, Iowa, Grand Rapids and Manitoba.