The Cincinnati Cyclones announced today that the team has re-signed forward and team captain Justin Vaive for the 2023-24 ECHL season. Vaive becomes the first player to sign with the team ahead of next season.
Vaive, who recently turned 34, enters his 13th professional season and ninth in Cincinnati. The veteran winger has played 360 of his 700 professional games with the Cyclones. Over the course of his tenure with the 'Clones, the captain has amassed 134 goals and 102 assists for 236 points.
"I've made it clear, both publicly and in my own mind that this is the only team I'm going to play for (moving forward)," said Vaive. "Time will tell on whether that's a couple years or 10 years, but I don't see myself ever putting on a different jersey. This has been my home away from home for so many years, and you would think with age that you get used to it, but each year I get more and more excited when I re-sign here."
The Buffalo, New York native began his professional career in a Cyclones jersey back in 2010 following a four-year collegiate run at Miami University. Vaive entered college having been previously drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
"Justin is a character person who exemplifies what it means to be a captain for the Cyclones," said Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Jason Payne. "He's coming off a tremendous season and helped lead our team to a division banner. He experienced team and individual success and that stems from not cheating the game. Justin plays our brand of hockey the right way. He sets the tone and shapes the culture of our dressing room. We couldn't ask for a better leader."
Vaive will embark on what is expected to be yet another milestone season. The captain is 55 points shy of Jesse Schultz as the franchise's all-time points leader, while he sits 14 goals and 99 games back of Don Biggs of the IHL-Cyclones for most goals and games played of anybody to have ever worn a Cyclones jersey. Ironically, Biggs had his #22 retired with the Cyclones; the same number Justin's father, Rick Vaive, wore throughout his illustrious 13-year NHL career.