New Star: BSU goalie Climie signs contract with Dallas

Former Bemidji State University goaltender Matt Climie has signed a one-year professional hockey contract with the Dallas Stars. He will complete the 2007-08 season with the Iowa Stars in Des Moines, Iowa, Dallas' primary development affiliate in...

Former Bemidji State University goaltender Matt Climie has signed a one-year professional hockey contract with the Dallas Stars.

He will complete the 2007-08 season with the Iowa Stars in Des Moines, Iowa, Dallas' primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Complete terms of the agreement were not announced by the organization.

An undrafted free agent, it didn't take the former BSU player long to sign a pro contract. After completing his college career Sunday afternoon in the College Hockey America Tournament final Climie agreed to terms with Dallas on Tuesday evening. He left for Des Moines Wednesday morning to finalize the deal.

Climie reported he signed a two-way NHL contract. He will take the final 12 games of the regular season to get acclimated to the league, level of play and the organization on an amateur tryout agreement and will begin to fulfill his one-year contract within the Dallas system next fall.


"It's still all very surreal ... I can't believe I signed a contract," Climie said Tuesday evening. "Everything just kind of came together. I knew that I wanted to continue on with hockey at some level, but didn't know if I would get the opportunity. Realistically, I thought I'd get an AHL contract at best.

"A two-way contract means I'm with the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars system. If I play good enough I'll have the opportunity to move up to the NHL team. This is a huge step for my career," Climie continued. "Now I'm a professional hockey player, it's my job."

During his four years at BSU, Climie piled up an overall record of 45-30-11 and helped lead BSU to CHA regular-season championships in 2004-05 and 2007-08 as well as backstopping the University to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament (2005, 2006).

The two-time All-CHA pick leaves Bemidji State after climbing to second all-time in save percentage (.909) and in goals against average (2.45). He owns the Beavers' single-season record for shutouts (5) and is atop the career shutouts list (12). His 45 victories in net stand as a BSU Division I-era standard.

In the 52-year history of the BSU men's hockey program, only three players have logged more time between the pipes than Climie (5,427) while his 2,201 saves seat him sixth on the school's all-time list.

Climie capped the 2007-08 campaign with a 2.16 goals against average, a .913 save percentage, an overall record of 14-8-3. In addition to backstopping a defense that led the league (1.95) and ranked ninth in nation in goals allowed per game, he was also a vital cog to a Bemidji State penalty-kill unit.

In league play this season Climie posted a CHA-best 1.78 goals against average and .750 winning percentage (12-3-3) while finishing second in save percentage with a .927 and 1111:49 logged between the pipes.

Climie also excelled academically andwas a three-time Academic All-CHA selection. He graduated with a degree in elementary education, including his student teaching requirement, in just 3.5 years.


"There is no way I would have been able to sign a professional contract without my time at Bemidji State," added Climie. "Bemidji gave me the opportunity to get that first break. "My four years at Bemidji State were great. They were everything and more than I thought they would be."

Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said coming to BSU was a perfect deal for both sides.

"(Climie) ended up in a great situation at Bemidji State," Serratore reported. "He was able to play a lot of hockey and the team experienced a lot success during that time For the last four years here, he's basically been the No. 1 goalie. Not only did he take us to the NCAA Tournament as a freshman, but as a senior he played pretty consistently at a high level. With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and free agency in the NHL things worked out well for him."

Climie took a round about way to achieve the ultimate goal of playing professional hockey. "He's really persevered through his hockey career,"

Serratore reported. "He's a kid from Western Canada who ended up playing in the Maritime Junior League. Things didn't work out with a couple of other teams, but he wanted to be a goalie "He ended up being the MVP of the MJHL. When leaving juniors there weren't a lot of opportunities out there for Matt. We gave him that opportunity."

Climie definitely made of the most of it. Now, with his playing experience and athletic ability the future is wide open for Climie. "He's a big kid who's extremely athletic," Serratore reported. "For a lot of players who are 24 or 25 it might be seen as being too late for them to start playing in the NHL. But that's not the situation for goaltenders, most of whom don't start reaching their peak until they're 27 or so.

"He fits the style of the 'new' NHL goalie. They want big goalies. He's not only big but extremely athletic with a lot of talent and ability. He has a tremendous upside - there's a lot to work with there. He matured a lot over the course of his four years here.

"It'll be interesting to see what the next couple of years hold for him. He needs to take this opportunity to make himself an even better player."


With 2005 BSU graduate Andrew Murray recently signing a three year NHL contract with the Columbus Bluejackets and now Climie making the move, it's an exciting time for Bemidji State hockey.

"A situation like this is a great reflection of our program. It reinforces that we are doing a lot of things right and are bringing in great people," Serratore said.

"Our student-athletes have the opportunity to come to Bemidji State and excel not only on the rink, but also in the classroom. (Climie's) signing an NHL contract just goes to show if you have the ability, if you're a player, people will find you. It doesn't matter where you play. Now Matt has an opportunity with the Dallas organization and we couldn't be happier for him.

"Climie said he leaves Bemidji State very thankful and full of great memories. "We had a lot of success as a hockey team, I met great people and made some friendships that I'll have the for the rest of my life." He added, "I have learned and developed so much as a person and that has prepared me to take the next step."

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