Highly-Decorated Swider Is Southern Professional Hockey League's Best Ever

Kevin Swider, who played collegiately for the Ferris State University men's ice hockey team from 1997-01, has been a mainstay for the Knoxville (Tenn.) Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) since his arrival in the 2002-03 season.

Swider, a center for the Ice Bears, was recognized for his productive play on the ice as The Hockey News' 60th Anniversary issue listed him as the number one player in the SPHL's three-year existance.

Kevin Swider
Kevin Swider owns the honor of being the SPHL's only skater to be listed in The Hockey News' 60th Anniversary Issue. (Photo by Jeff Haas of Haas Designs)

This season, Swider paced Knoxville in scoring with 98 points on 38 goals and 60 assists in 48 regular season contests which represented the fourth consecutive season in which he has been the league's top points producer. A 2007-08 All-SPHL First Team pick, Swider recorded 12 power-play goals, three short-handed tallies, and six game-winning lamplighters to go with a plus 26 efficiency rating during the regular season as the Ice Bears won the William B. Coffey Trophy as the SPHL's Regular-Season Champions. In two playoff games to date this campaign, the 5-10, 180-pound forward has three goals and two helpers for five points to go with a game-winning tally in a 4-2 playoff victory over Huntsville (Ala.).

Swider, who's presently midst his second season as the Ice Bears' captain and assistant player-coach, was selected the Sher-Wood Player of the Month for February 2008 after racking up 22 points on nine goals and 13 assists in 11 games during the month. He was tabbed as the Sher-Wood Player of the Week in the opening week of SPHL play after compiling seven points on three goals and four assists in two contests. Swider then was honored as the SPHL's Sher-Wood Player of the Month in November 2007 when he produced a league-best 33 points with 10 goals and 23 assists in 13 appearances.

"Our team is fortunate to have a player like Kevin Swider, especially as we begin to prepare for the playoffs," said Knoxville Ice Bears President and General Manager Mike Murray. "He is not only a consistent, talented player, but a leader."

"Kevin is a very gifted offensive talent and we are happy that he has chosen to play at this level and in Knoxville," said Head Coach Scott Hillman.

Prior to this season, Swider accumulated a league-most 93 points with 36 goals and 57 assists in 56 regular-season outings for the 2006-07 campaign. In his second full season (2005-06) season at Knoxville, Swider reached the century mark in points with a league-leading 100 total on 34 goals with 66 helpers in 55 regular-season encounters.

A native of Livonia, Mich., Swider turned in his highest season points total with Knoxville in the 2004-05 season by as the SPHL scoring champion produced 106 points with 33 lamplighters and a league-best 73 assists in 52 regular-season games en route to garnering unanimous all-star accolades. Swider, who also led the league with a +34 plus/minus efficiency rating, played an integral role in leading the Ice Bears to a first-place finish in the SPHL. He earned the distinction of being the SPHL's first-ever Most Valuable Player Award recipient.

Swider returned for his second stint with the Ice Bears in 2003-04 season after beginning the campaign with the Miami (Fla.) Manatees of the World Hockey Associaton 2 (WHA2) and then on to the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). In his first stint with Knoxville in the 2002-03 season, Swider totaled 80 points on 40 goals and assists apiece in 53 contests.

In his four seasons at Ferris State, Swider compiled 124 career points on 56 goals and 68 assists in 148 games. He presently ranks tied for 18th place among the school's all-time points leaders while ranking 18th in goals and 22nd in assists. Swider was a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) All-Rookie Team pick in 1997-98 and also received 2000-01 CCHA All-Academic Honorable Mention Team accolades.

Swider is married to Angie Desmarais, who played women's volleyball at Ferris State from 1999-02. His brother-in-law, Matt Desmarais, was a member of the Bulldog football team from 2001-04.

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