When the men’s ice hockey team takes the ice this fall for its first team practice, there will be a new sophomore wearing Bulldog blue and white.

Edward Caron ’05 — a 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound winger from the University of New Hampshire — transferred to Yale in April, weeks after the Wildcats fell 7-2 to the University of Maine in the NCAA tournament semifinals.

Although NCAA regulations prevent Caron from joining the Bulldogs on the ice for regular season contests this year, the towering newcomer will be a welcome addition to the Bulldogs’ practices.

“Eddie is a really solid player and has the potential to be one of the best forwards in the league,” head coach Tim Taylor said. “I don’t think there are going to be many forwards in the ECAC working as hard in practice as Eddie will be, and that will really help our players get ready for each weekend.”

At UNH, Caron tallied six goals and seven assists while playing 34 out of 40 games on the Wildcats’ third line. Before he began playing with the Wildcats, the Edmonton Oilers drafted Caron with the 52nd overall pick in the 2001 National Hockey League Entry Draft. But the experience of getting drafted coupled with traveling to the Frozen Four as a freshman was not enough for Caron, who was a straight-A student at UNH.

“Hockeywise, UNH is a hard place to beat. The experience of going to the Frozen Four was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Caron said. “But as a person, I enjoy a balance between academics and athletics that was not afforded me at UNH.”

Caron surprised Wildcats head coach Dick Umile in April when he requested a release to explore other hockey programs outside of the Hockey East Association.

“It was definitely unexpected,” Umile said. “We’re sad to see him go, but someone will take his place.”

After growing up in New Hampshire, Caron thought he had found the perfect place for his collegiate hockey career when he crossed Yale off of his short list of colleges and enrolled at UNH.

“To attend UNH seemed an almost natural choice,” Caron said. “In retrospect, perhaps I failed to examine closely the choices presented to me in high school.”

Now that Caron is at Yale, he joins 6-foot-3-inch, 223-pound winger Nick Deschenes ’03 and 6-foot-3-inch, 215-pound defenseman Joe Callahan ’05 as one of the largest players on the Bulldog squad. With Caron, the Elis will have an easier time preparing for teams that emphasize size and strength over speed and skill.

Last season the Bulldogs struggled against larger teams such as Cornell. In four games against the Big Red last year, the Bulldogs tied one contest and lost the other three.

In addition to Cornell, the Bulldogs will face national champion Minnesota on Dec. 27.

“Having Eddie out there will help us out a lot when it comes to our bigger games,” team captain Denis Nam ’03 said. “It will definitely make a difference when the bigger teams come to New Haven.”

Caron is already relishing his role as a motivator.

“If I can push someone in the weight room or on the field that has the chance to play this year, then I will be doing what I came here to do,” Caron said. “On the ice, If I can do the same, my year will be a success.”