- The Washington Times - Friday, July 29, 2005

Eric Fehr, last season’s player of the year in the Western Hockey League, signed a three-year contract with the Washington Capitals yesterday.

Fehr, a high-scoring right wing who played four seasons for the Brandon (Manitoba) Wheat Kings, was taken 18th overall in the 2003 draft by the Caps. The deadline for signing players from that draft class was yesterday, and Fehr signed for about $950,000 a season plus a signing bonus of nearly $1million.

“Eric is an exceptional young player who has shown continued improvement since we drafted him two years ago,” general manager George McPhee said. “We are happy to have him under contract and look forward to his future with the Capitals.”

Fehr, who turns 20 in September, scored 50 or more goals in each of his last two seasons and won the WHL’s Bobby Clarke Trophy this past season as the league’s leading scorer with 111 points. His 59 goals led the league, as did his 31 power-play scores. He also set a league record with five overtime game-winning goals.

He led the Wheat Kings to the WHL finals and had 16 goals and 32 points in 24 postseason games.

He probably will spend this season with the Hershey (Pa.) Bears in the American Hockey League.

“I don’t want to go back to junior hockey,” Fehr said recently during a Caps prospects camp in Hershey. “I think I’ve done all I can do there. I want to move on, and hopefully Hershey can be a good start for me.”

Fehr scored 26 goals in the first half last season, but he didn’t land a berth on the world champion Canadian junior national team. It was the second year in a row Fehr had been the last forward cut from the tryout camp.

“That was a huge disappointment for me,” he said. “I thought I had a really good start to the season, and I thought I did everything in camp to make the team. After I got cut I was disappointed, but at the same time you have to take it in stride. You can’t take anything too much to heart. You just have to move on with things.”

He moved on immediately, scoring 33 goals in the second half of the season.

Notes — Caps center and Montgomery County native Jeff Halpern is one of 39 players invited to an orientation camp for candidates for the U.S. Olympic hockey team that will participate in the Winter Games in Turin, Italy, in February. Halpern, 29, has played five seasons for the Caps and has represented the United States at world championships and other international events. …

Carmen Provenzano, father of former Washington assistant general manager Frank Provenzano, died of a heart attack Wednesday night in his Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, home. Provenzano, 62, was a member of the House of Commons in Canada for seven years and had been nominated to run again as a member of the Liberal Party. In parliament he was active in veterans affairs and was chairman of the Fisheries and Oceans Committee. He is survived by his widow and four children. …

The Caps declined to pick up the option on center Darcy Verot, who between suspensions and injuries played only 36 games (one assist) for the Portland (Maine) Pirates last season. Nonetheless, he led the team with 189 penalty minutes.

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