Stefan Fournier Re-Signs with Thunder for 2021-22 Season
On Tuesday, August 24th, the Thunder had announced that Stefan Fournier would be returning for his fourth season in Wichita. Originally, Wichita had acquired Fournier from the Orlando Solar Bears back during the 2018-19 season. “With the success the team had last year, and (Head Coach) Bruce (Ramsay) re-signing, the decision was easy. Wichita has become like a second home to me,” said Fournier.
Over that time, the 6’3” 225lbs veteran forward has found himself as a staple to the Thunder franchise, as he will be serving as the player/assistant coach for the third season in a row. Throughout his career, he has appeared in 142 games in the AHL with 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points overall. In the ECHL, he’s appeared in 223 games with 80 goals and 64 assists for a total of 144 points.
Fournier has also provided more than just leadership, as he has had the best seasons of his career with Wichita. Out of 223 of his career ECHL games, 145 of those have been with Wichita, as he’s becoming the face of the franchise. “It’s been a great experience growing as a player in Wichita. I really appreciate the confidence the management and the city has put in me,” he said.
Throughout those 145 games, he has had 113 points overall. “My job has been really clear since Bruce came to Wichita. I’ve been given the right tools to succeed personally,” he said.
- 2018-19: 38 games played, 17 goals and 12 assists
- 2019-20: 52 games played, 24 goals and 18 assists
- 2020-21: 55 games played, 22 goals and 20 assists.
Personal acclimates are the least of his concerns, however, proving his leadership status. “I haven’t looked too far into milestones, I’m not too focused on my own personal stats. I know I’m close to 400 pro games so I would consider that an accomplishment,” he said.
Coming off of a career season, Fournier had a large impact offensively, and plans to continue doing just that for this upcoming season. “Stand in front of the net and score goals. Be a good veteran presence and give confidence to our younger players to play their game.”
Not only does he bring an offensive presence, but he also brings physicality to the table, as he has a total of 204 penalty minutes throughout his 145 games with Wichita.
There’s been some expectations starting to brew, given how successful the 20-21 season was. “I think we have a lot to build on from last year, given a lot of the same guys are returning. I think the only expectation you can have is to do well enough to put yourself in a playoff position,” Fournier says.
With the season growing nearer, training has been a big part of his shortened offseason. “I’ve been in the gym at Powerhouse, a hockey gym here in Pointe Claire that specifies in hockey specific training.”
The excitement for the season is also starting to build up as well, as Fournier is eager to return to the Air Capital. “It means a lot for me to represent the City of Wichita and all of our fans who come watch us play at the IBA.”
by Gabe Daniel