Welch Chooses to Play in Sweden

HV71 (Sweden) announced Friday the signing of former Harvard standout Noah Welch for the 2011-12 season.

A native of Brighton, Massachusetts, Welch joins HV71 after having spent the past six seasons competing in the National Hockey League (NHL) and American Hockey League (AHL). He spent the 2010-11 campaign with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL, appearing in 52 games -- 50 with Chicago, two with Atlanta. Welch registered two goals and 11 assists on the season.

“Noah is a team player who gives everything in every situation. He'll blend in well with the team with his self-sacrificing style of play. He’s a big, tough and flexible back that we have had our eyes on for a while,” said sports director Fredrik Stillman.

The 6-4, 220-pound defenseman recorded nine points (four goals, five assists) in 75 career NHL games with Pittsburgh, Florida and Tampa Bay and Atlanta.  He has also earned 77 points (19 goals, 58 assists) in 209 AHL games with Chicago, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Rochester.

Prior to his professional career, Welch played four seasons at Harvard (2001-05).  He registered 76 points (23 goals, 53 assists) in 129 games and was named to the NCAA East First All-American Team following his senior season.

Welch was originally selected by Pittsburgh in the second round (54th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.