Dan Hodge hopes he just tendered the next Andrew Kurapov.

On Friday the Twin City Thunder announced Zac Bell has signed a tender with the Thunder’s National Collegiate Development Conference.

Bell is coming off a season where he had five goals and an assist in six games with the Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles of the North American 3 Hockey League. He suffered an injury which shortened his season.

In 2018-19 when the Soaring Eagles were known as the Binghamton Jr. Senators, he was fifth on the team in scoring as he racked up 31 goals and 48 assists in 35 games. The Orillia, Ontario native also suited up for one game with the Jamestown Rebels of the North American Hockey League during the 2018-19 season

“I look at him that he’s going to be a player like Kurapov, a player like Kurapov’s caliber,” Hodge said. “(Bell has) a lot of skill, was really fast, great vision and can see things most people can’t. He’s a really good hockey player and has a good mind for the game. I think he’s a kid that’s going to come in here and do some good things.”

Bell, just like Kurapov, will join the the Thunder for his 20-year-old season and will have big skates to fill. Kurapov was fourth in league scoring, putting up 22 goals and 39 assists in 50 games.

Despite only playing in six games because of an injury this season Hodge doesn’t see a risk of tendering Bell.

“Nowadays kids are playing hockey 24/7 and they are right back at it,” Hodge said. “(Bell) has sent me some video of himself and he looks good, he looks healthy (and) strong. Again, you do your due diligence, you talk to people and I am lucky enough to have a good relationship with Ray Welsh, who was the GM of Binghamton at the time. He said a lot of good things about him and we did our research on him — we talked to him. I think he’s a kid that will do some good things.”

Welsh told Hodge that Bell is a special player and his game should translate to the NCDC level.

Hodge felt if the Thunder didn’t a chance on Bell with a tender, another team might have or drafted him in the draft which will be held on June 10.


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