Forwards McLeod, Tackett Sign With Cyclones
The Cincinnati Cyclones have signed forwards Matt McLeod and Jason Tackett to Standard Player Contracts ahead of the 2021-22 ECHL season. Both players had previously signed with the team prior to the Cyclones sitting out the 2020-21 season.
McLeod did not play during the pandemic, while Tackett, a West Chester, Ohio native, skated with the Macon Mayhem of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).
McLeod, 24, last played during the 2019-20 season with the now defunct-Brampton Beast. There, the North York, Ontario product scored four goals and notched eight points in his rookie ECHL season. Prior to Brampton, McLeod spent four years at Canisius College where he earned AHCA All-American Scholar Honors in each of his last three years, while also being named to the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team all four years of his college tenure. He tallied 25 points over 124 games.
Matt is one of three McLeod brothers currently playing professional hockey. His brother Michael was a 2016 first round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, while his brother Ryan was a second round selection of the Edmonton Oilers in 2018.
“I’m very excited to sign with the Cyclones again and get back to playing hockey,” said McLeod. “Even though I didn’t play for a team this past year, I was able to keep up with my training and conditioning. I also picked up an internship in Toronto so I could use my degree. It’s been an interesting and different kind of year for me, but I’m ready to get back at it and can’t wait for the puck to drop on opening night and play in front of a great fanbase in Cincinnati!”
Joining McLeod will be local resident, Jason Tackett. The 25-year-old winger grew up just 30 minutes from Heritage Bank Center, attending numerous Cyclones games as a child, including some during the 2008 and 2010 Kelly Cup Finals in which Cincinnati won the championship both times. Tackett spent the 2020-21 season in Macon, generating 12 goals and 36 points in 26 SPHL games, helping his team earn a spot in the league’s championship round.
Tackett enjoyed a four year playing career at Ferris State University from 2016-20, amassing 45 points in 114 games. His youth hockey days further tie him to the area, playing two seasons for the Ohio Blue Jackets 18U AAA team.
“It’s a surreal feeling to get to play in Cincinnati and live out my dream in my hometown,” said Tackett. “I remember playing for the Junior Cyclones when I was really young. We would go out and play during intermission at Cyclones games and that’s where the dream began for me. I’ve played all over the country my entire life, so having my friends and family this close to me means a lot. I also can’t say enough good things about Head Coach Matt Thomas. You can see his passion and knowledge of the game are second to none. He’s the perfect coach for me at this point in my career.”
“An opportunity to sign a hometown kid doesn’t come often, so this is a pretty special thing,” said Head Coach Matt Thomas. “Jason had a strong showing in Ferris State and he excelled in the SPHL. We are getting a well-rounded forward who knows how to play a 200-foot game and contribute on both sides of the puck. We have made it a goal of ours as an organization to help develop players locally, and to have Tackett here in Cincinnati can further drive that emphasis.”
“With McLeod, we know he’s a mature second year player with size and speed on the right wing. He’s a good skater and he’ll immediately improve our team’s speed and make it tough on the opposing team’s defense. He will be a critical part of our identity.”
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