Hamilton returns to Sound Tigers

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced on Tuesday that Jeff Hamilton has rejoined the team after signing with the parent New York Islanders.

Hamilton helped lead the Sound Tigers to a strong playoff run and a pair of record-setting streaks while racking up some impressive individual achievements during his first stint with the team from 2002-04. He also returns to the state where he has spent almost his entire playing career.

“I am thrilled Jeff is rejoining our team,” said Sound Tigers head coach Dave Baseggio who, like Hamilton, played his collegiate hockey in Connecticut at Yale University. “He is an elite player in the AHL, and I truly believe he can play and thrive in the NHL under the new rules. He will get every opportunity to work hard and prove he can play in the NHL.”

“I am very excited to have re-signed with the Islanders,” said Hamilton. “The positive direction the Sound Tigers are heading was a big part of my decision, and I am anxious to continue my development with the help of Dave Baseggio and his staff. As always, the Islanders have assembled a great group of guys in Bridgeport that will no doubt lead to success in the AHL this season.”

Hamilton, 28, was an AHL All-Star in 2003-04 when he led the AHL with 43 goals and paced the Sound Tigers with 68 points in 67 games. He also made his NHL debut with the Islanders, appearing in one game the same year. During that season, Hamilton set several franchise records, and also established an AHL mark for most game-winning goals in a season with 15.

Hamilton’s 2003-04 accomplishments are made even more impressive by the fact that he missed 13 games with a serious eye injury.

In addition to his individual accomplishments, Hamilton was a big part of a pair franchise-record streaks in 2003-04 when the Sound Tigers went 20 games in a row without a loss (17-0-3 from Oct. 25 to Dec. 14) and 22 straight games without a loss in regulation (18-0-3-1 from Oct. 19 to Dec. 14).

In addition to his collegiate career at Yale and his two seasons with Bridgeport, Hamilton spent the 2004-05 season in Connecticut skating for the Hartford Wolf Pack. Hamilton recorded 23 goals and 29 assists for 52 points in 60 games last year.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Hamilton has tallied 88 goals and 70 assists for 158 points in 194 career AHL games. He began this season with Ak Bars Kazan in Russia, appearing in eight games.