The Cyclones have signed forward James Hardie along with defenseman Jacob Murray to Standard Player Contracts ahead of the last two games of the 2022-23 regular season in Kansas City this weekend. Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Jason Payne, has also released goaltender Drew DeRidder and forward Nick Nardella from their Amateur Try-Out contracts.
Both Hardie and Murray are 21-year-olds coming out of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), where they've each spent the last four seasons.
Hardie, a Barrie, Ontario native, has been with OHL-Mississauga since the 2018-19 season. He served as an Alternate Captain last season and was named Co-Captain for the Steelheads this year. Hardie has operated at over a point-per-game pace each of the last three seasons, with his 2022-23 campaign being the best yet, posting 38 goals and 44 assists for 82 points in 66 games. Overall, the 5'11", 176-pound forward has tallied 128 goals and 244 points across 255 OHL regular season games. Hardie added 12 goals in 20 OHL playoff games over the course of three postseasons.
Murray brings his 6'3", 200-pound frame to Cincinnati after completing his fourth OHL season, having spent time in both Kingston and Guelph this season. The Mississauga native played his first 193 games with the Kingston Frontenacs, serving in a leadership role each season since 2019. He began his fourth season there before being moved four games into the year. After arriving in Guelph, Murray scored four goals and added 34 assists for a 38-point regular season. He then posted three points in six OHL playoff games. Murray finished second on the team in points scored by a defenseman, trailing only Michael Buchinger, who was drafted by the St. Louis Blues last summer.