Bears sign Ness to AHL deal

Photo: Lucas Armstrong

The Hershey Bears have signed free-agent defenseman Aaron Ness to an American Hockey League contract for the 2022-23 season.

Ness returns to Hershey for his second stint with the Bears. He played four seasons with the club from 2015 to 2019, helping them to the Calder Cup Finals in 2016 and earning Second Team AHL All-Star honors in 2018-19 when he set career highs with 50 assists, 55 points and a plus-24 rating.

Ness spent the 2021-22 season with the Providence Bruins, amassing three goals and 16 assists for 19 points in 55 games. The Roseau, Minn., native also represented the United States at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

In 591 career AHL games over with Providence, Tucson, Hershey and Bridgeport, Ness has totaled 48 goals and 231 assists for 279 points, and skated in the AHL All-Star Classic in 2015. Ness has added 16 assists in 41 Calder Cup Playoff games.

Entering his 12th pro season, Ness has also skated in 72 NHL games with the New York Islanders, Washington and Arizona. He was originally a second-round pick by the Islanders in the 2008 NHL Draft.