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Former Foe Henry Finds Home With Crunch

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Jordan Henry is no stranger to Syracuse.

The 27-year-old defenseman spent parts of six seasons in the American Hockey League, including three with the Crunch’s rival, the Rochester Americans. For Henry, the Onondaga County War Memorial has been the site of plenty of fight-filled rivalry games.

“We played a million games here it seems like,” Henry said, then motioning to the opposing team’s entrance. “I played a lot of games from that side and coming out that door.”

But now, Syracuse is Henry’s home. The 6-2 Alberta native, who played two games on a tryout deal with the Crunch in November, was signed to a standard players contract Jan. 8.

With 10 different teams on his resume since 2010, Henry was glad to have some stability through the end of the season.

“Obviously you want that security to know you’re going to be able to get in some games, make some progress and work your way into being a solid part of the lineup throughout the year,” said Henry, who registered 14 points and 27 penalty minutes with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades this season. “With a PTO, they can get rid of you at any time. You tend to think maybe one game can be the end of you.”

Last season, Henry spent time with Sodetalje SK in Sweden, HPK Hameenlinna in Finland, the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL and the Oklahoma City Thunder of the AHL. He settled in Florida to begin this season, where he was used in all situations.

“It helped my confidence a lot early in the year to get there and play well on a great team, and to be looked upon as a leader and get those minutes,” Henry said. “It did a lot for my game, and now I’m trying to do the same thing here; take that confidence I got down there and bring it up here and try to take my game to the next level.”

Henry gives Crunch coach Rob Zettler quality depth in case of injury or call-ups, and can be plugged in to provide energy to the Syracuse lineup. In six games with the Crunch, Henry has an even plus-minus and six penalty minutes.

“He can play in all situations,” Zettler said. “So if someone is having an off night, he can help out a little bit. Or if we need a pop here or there, he can help us.”

Henry also brings a veteran presence, which is rare for guys plucked out of the ECHL midseason.

“We’ve been young back there pretty much all year with three rookies on defense,” Zettler said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of experience to go to, in the dressing room and the ice.”

“I’m just trying to do whatever I can, whatever they need me to do right now,” Henry said.

Although being sent back to the Everblades is still a possibility, Henry is enjoying a little security with the Crunch.

“That contract really helps put my mind at ease,” Henry said, “and lets me focus on going out there every day and getting better.”