The Trade-Mart Dundee Stars are excited to confirm the signing of American forward, Elijiah Barriga for the 2022-2023 Elite League campaign.

The 26-year-old, left winger joins the Stars from American International College, who are an NCAA Division 1 team and through four years with the Yellow Jackets, Barriga won seven championships and totalled 62 points (29G, 33A) in 107 appearances. 

Between 2018 and 2022, he was part of the AIC teams that won four straight Atlantic Conference regular season titles and three Atlantic Conference playoff championships, as well as being named to the All-Tournament and Second All-Conference teams in 2020-2021. 

Elijiah also played one year with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels in 2017-2018 and in his only ACHA season, he contributed 37 points (22G, 15A) in 29 games. 

Prior to his collegiate career, the 5-foot-11-inch attacker honed his skills in the North American Hockey League with Amarillo Bulls for two seasons and spent a pair of campaigns with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Colombia Hockey League, where he racked up 104 points in 126 games. 

Weighing in at 194lbs, the Californian had started his development with Orange County U16’s before switching to the Anaheim Junior Ducks in 2012, where he played the rest of his U16 and U18 hockey and was a top two scorer in both years. 

During his time in the NAPHL U18, Barriga also picked up the awards for most assists (31) and points (44) and was named to the 2013-2014 First All-Star Team. 

Born in West Covina, California, Elijiah is a former teammate of ex-Star, Charlie Combs (Amarillo Bulls, 2014-2015). 

 

Picture: American International College Athletics.

 

After securing the services of Barriga for the upcoming season, Stars General Manager and Head Coach, Jeff Mason delightedly said: “Elijiah comes from a college program that is certainly a powerhouse in their conference and has been over the last few years. 

“AIC have produced a lot of good pros and I had one of Elijiah’s teammates with me in Belfast last season, in Jeff Baum and from speaking to Barriga’s coach – who is someone I respect very highly and who has created a top-level program and a winning culture at AIC – he spoke very highly of Elijiah. 

“Elijiah came on to my radar a couple years back from a coach who we were familiar with in our recruitment process in Belfast and he recommended that we keep an eye on him and he is certainly someone I have followed. 

“He is a durable player as he can play at center or on the wing, which is important, but he also skates extremely well, is a very smart player and I believe he will be a very good player for us going forward. 

“He is a bit older as well for a rookie, but he will be somebody we can count on a lot and he will play a lot of minutes for us.” 

The Stars boss then discussed his plans to build his own winning culture in Dundee and how adding serial-winners like Barriga is of the highest importance. 

Mason explained: “People who come from winning programs know what it takes to win and those guys are important for building the culture that we want to establish in Dundee. 

“People have to learn how to win and he has certainly gained that from his past experiences and that is really important, but he is also a former leader on his college team, which adds another great quality to his personality. 

“Overall, he checks all the boxes of what I desire in a player and of someone who is very hungry to get their career started and is ready to establish himself at the next level.” 

 

Picture: American International College Athletics.

 

Once he had signed his first professional contract, an ecstatic Elijiah said: “I had a few conversations with Jeff and from everything that he said, it all seemed pretty good and like the best fit for me.

“He seems like a really nice guy and it was a pretty smooth transaction between us two and he told me what kind of player I need to be.

“From there, he just talked about living over in Dundee, the fans and the city and it all just sounded like the right place for me.

“Although, what I was really sold on, was how Jeff talked about the team, the people around the team, Dundee as a city and what it is they are trying to build here.

“So, I am excited but I do not know what to expect as it is my first time playing in Europe, but I think it will be a fun year and I am just going to go out there and try to do my best.”

Barriga then discussed what type of game he hopes to bring to Dundee and the role he will play.

He added: “I am a good and solid two-way player, I bring a lot of IQ to the game and I try not to be a one-dimensional player.

“I think both Jeff and myself understand what my role will be and I will just try to be a good two-way center, who is strong on defence and strong on offence.”

The American forward also revealed that he spoke to his former teammates, who have Elite League experience and told how they were full of encouragement and that they had only good things to say about the EIHL and the UK.

Elijiah explained: “I spoke to Charlie Combs about it and he is actually a really good friend of mine, I talk to him quite a lot and he was just telling me all the great things about Dundee.

“So, I really liked all the things him and Jeff were saying and obviously, Charlie played there just last year and did really well, and he loved it there and had nothing but good things to say about the organisation.

“Then, I also spoke to Jeff Baum too, he played for Belfast Giants and he told me the same things, everything about the league is good, it is fun and exciting and the UK is a great place to play.

“Jeff Mason was his coach last year and he had nothing but good things to say about him and he seems like a really nice guy.

“So, I am really excited to be a Star and to get things going in August.”

 

Picture: American International College Athletics.

 

In his career so far, Barriga has featured in 370 matches, scored 139 goals, assisted 175 times, and has collected 312 penalty minutes, whilst also making 25 playoff appearances and collecting 22 points (11G, 11A) and 12 penalty minutes.

Elijiah is our 10th signing of the summer and joins Drydn Dow, Craig Garrigan, Philippe Sanche, Chris Gerrie, Brython Preece, Mac Howlett, Toms Rutkis, Kris Inglis and Carter Folk on the roster for next season.

You can get your season tickets to watch these 10 players and the rest of the team in the 2022-2023 campaign by contacting: [email protected]

Barriga will wear the #19 Stars jersey next season.

To view Elijiah’s career stats on Elite Prospects click HERE.

 

Picture: American International College Athletics.

 

Featured image: American International College Athletics.

Banner Image: American International College Athletics.

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