Perrin returning to Bears?

The Hershey Bears announced today that center Eric Perrin will sign an American Hockey League contract to play for the league’s most senior franchise on September 16th if a National Hockey League work stoppage takes place. The announcement was made by Bears President/GM Doug Yingst.

Perrin made his AHL debut with Hershey last Oct. 15 against the St. John’s Maple Leafs, which turned out to be the beginning of a storybook-type season for the Laval, Que., native. Perrin led Hershey in scoring with 75 points on 21 goals and 54 assists before earning his first National Hockey League recall on March 27.

He made his NHL debut for Tampa Bay that same night against the Washington Capitals and played in the final four regular season games for the Lightning. Perrin played in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the eventual champions, recording his first-ever NHL assist in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Philadelphia. Perrin was the first Lightning player to have possession of the Stanley Cup this past summer.

Perrin played in the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic in Grand Rapids, and was named a First Team AHL All-Star.

“My heart wanted very much to be in Hershey, I had the best time last season,” Perrin said. “It’s the best place I’ve ever played, it’s the best organization, and it’s just the whole package. My family enjoys Hershey very much, and we are so happy that it all worked out.”

Perrin returns to Hershey as the club’s reigning most valuable player. He is expected to be with the team when the club begins its 67th training camp late this month.

“This is a great day for the Hershey Bears hockey club,” Yingst said. “Eric Perrin is a player of the highest caliber in the American Hockey League, and he is also a person with tremendous character and leadership abilities. We couldn’t be happier that he will be back with us.”