PORTLAND (AP) – Six months after announcing his retirement as a player and joining the coaching staff of Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, veteran defenseman Eric Weinrich has signed a professional tryout agreement with the Portland Pirates, Anaheim Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations and Portland Pirates General Manager Bob Murray announced Thursday.

“The Anaheim organization gave me the opportunity to stay in hockey and stay in Maine this summer as a coach. It was a great chance for me to stay in the game I love and settle the family in Maine,” Weinrich said in a statement.

“Now, (Pirates head coach) Kevin Dineen and the Anaheim Ducks presented me with the scenario of becoming a player again. To live at home, not change the daily routine much and still have the same home with my family has made the decision almost a no-brainer. I still have the desire to compete and I would love to win in Portland.”

Weinrich finished his NHL career after playing in 1,157 games with 388 points – 70 goals and 318 assists.

“Eric has brought a vast array of experience and knowledge to our organization,” Dineen said. “He will now be able to share these attributes on the ice as a teammate. We look forward to the second half of the season.”

Weinrich was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the second round of the 1985 NHL Draft. He also played with Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Montreal, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Vancouver.

Weinrich had 16 goals and 54 assists in 83 games over three seasons at the University of Maine from 1985-88. He was named to the Hockey East All-Star Team in 1987 and also earned NCAA honors as a member of the NCAA East Second All-American Team. The following year he played on the U.S. Olympic team.

“We are very excited about Eric’s decision to help our hockey team and get back on the ice. His career has made many stops, but for him to be able to play here in his home state will be a boost for our team and will be great for our organization and fans,” Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek said.

AP-ES-01-25-07 1836EST