Sault Ste. Marie native Bronson Kovacs has inked his first professional hockey contract.
The hulking, hard-shooting defenceman, who just turned 25-years old earlier this month, has signed a pro deal with Debreceni Hoki Klub of the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation.
Kovacs is fresh from a four-year, National Collegiate Athletic Association career with the Hobart College Statesman.
Before going to Hobart — which is located in Geneva, N.Y. — Kovacs was a standout defender for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. He is also a former NOJHL scholastic-player-of-the-year.
He is the son of Zoltan (Toots) Kovacs and Diana Kovacs of the Soo.
During his career at Hobart, Kovacs served as team captain in his senior season and helped lead the Statesmen to their fifth NCAA tournament appearance in program history in 2014-2015.
In all, Kovacs played in 98 career games at Hobart and scored 19 goals, 26 assists, 45 points.
In the classroom, Kovacs graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology and was a three-time member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference all-academic team.
Going to Hungary to play pro hockey is a natural fit for Kovacs.
His Hungarian heritage helped Kovacs make the hockey connection. His late grandfather — Zoltan Kovacs Sr. — was born in Hungary and lived there for many years before moving to the Soo.
“It is so nice to have the opportunity to see where my grandfather was from. I can only imagine how excited he would be that I am going to play hockey back in his home country,” said Kovacs, who made the trip to the homeland with his dad to sign his pro contract.