LAFAYETTE, LA — As I write this post, be warned – I’m currently beneath a ladder, holding an umbrella indoors, just broke a mirror, and a just saw a black cat pass by me. In the case of my demise, I bequeath this column to Jimmy Gentry and may God have mercy on his black soul.

I’d first like to offer my condolences to our Cincinnati Cyclones writer, Dakota Johnson. Potter, as we prefer to call him, just learned about the departure of his favorite man-crush from the Cyclones, Dylan Nowakowski. May the hockey gods be just and have Nowakowski picked up by Fort Wayne.

If my Facebook Messenger is any indication, 2017-18 is going to be a banner season for the SPHL. The notifications on my phone have been going off nonstop (at least during waking hours before the phone goes on “Do Not F*** With Me” mode. Seriously, it’s great catching up with all of you. Thanks so much for keeping in touch and I look forward to hearing from y’all this season!

Our majestically mediocre Inside the SPHL Podcast kicked off our second season on Tuesday night. This year, we will be broadcasting every episode LIVE on either our brand-new mobile app,  Mixlr, or on our Sin Bin SPHL page with Facebook Live. We brought back the defending champion Macon Mayhem for the season premiere, with “Voice of the Mayhem” Erik Evenson and “SPHL Assistant Coach of the Year” Leo Thomas joining Matty Harding and myself. We got some great insights on the Presidents Cup Champs’ training camp roster and so much more.

Did I say mobile app? Yes, I did! We released our Sin Bin mobile app across Apple and Android platforms. You can now get your news on your phone or tablet, listen to our podcasts, or ECHL Wichita Thunder games. Click this link on your phone/tablet to download our app now!

Also, we may have some more big news involving our mobile app sometime next week. Stay tuned, y’all.

In advance of our next podcast episode, set to be our SPHL season preview show, I’m going to take the lead and disclose my picks for the upcoming season.

  • William B. Coffey Cup (Best regular season record) –  Huntsville Havoc. Their roster has depth across all positions, and Shawn Bates just arrived from ECHL Tulsa. Peoria and Macon should also contend for the regular season crown.
  • Rip V. Winkle Trophy (for the sleeper pick of the league) – Evansville Thunderbolts. I guess this is a pretty obvious pick since the Bolts can’t get any worse from last season. Still, they finished strong, upgraded their goaltending & defense, and return a set of forwards who looked pretty good at the end of last season.
  • Presidents Cup (League Champions) – Peoria Rivermen. Third time’s a charm.
  • The other team in the PCF – Fayetteville Marksmen. Peter Di Salvo and Matt Zenzola are absolute gamers in net – the kind of experience which can shine in the postseason.

The rest of our SPHL team will put their picks on the record Tuesday night.

However, tonight… we’ve got SPHL preseason hockey!

In Knoxville, Jeff Carr takes the Ice Bears’ bench for the first time as his team takes on the defending champion Macon Mayhem at 6:35 tonight. It’s still preseason, so we don’t expect either coach to play their established players in favor of evaluating the rookies in game situations.

A small change to tonight’s schedule – The RiverKings’ travel issues means they will not be taking the trip over to Huntsville for tonight’s preseason game. Instead, the Huntsville Havoc will be playing… the Huntsville Havoc. Coach Glenn Detulleo will put his boys through an intrasquad scrimmage.

Tomorrow, Fayetteville travels to Macon, while Pensacola goes to Birmingham. The SPHL preseason will wrap up on Sunday with Huntsville traveling to Southaven to play the Kings.

Teams are required to trim their rosters to 22 players on Sunday, with opening night rosters due on Wednesday.

Only one more week until opening night. It’s great getting hockey back.

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