This is the final preseason edition of Inside the SPHL. This column will resume on Tuesday, October 28th and run weekly for the duration of the season. Next week, I will cover training camp with the Louisiana IceGators and exhibition weekend. During the week of October 19th we will run league and team previews prior to opening night on October 23rd. Thank you all so much for reading, and I look forward to providing you the most in-depth reporting of the Louisiana IceGators and the SPHL all season long .
Training camps in the ECHL are in full swing this week, and several SPHL players found themselves in camps across the league getting their shot at the higher league. The most notable name (also one of the unlikeliest), was found on the Altanta Gladiators camp roster, Columbus Cottonmouths goalie Andrew Loewen – who we believed was selling Aflac insurance – piled up the pillows for one last shot at the ECHL, or perhaps he’s just having a little fun.
This week the Huntsville Havoc became the first team to publish their training camp roster. Goalie Kevin Genoe, defenseman and team captain Stuart Stefan, former Rivermen defenseman Nick Schneider, and former Ice Flyer winger Brett Lutes headline the 24-man roster. The Havoc bring four goalies, nine defensemen, and 11 forwards to camp this year, which begins on October 14th.
In Lafayette, the Louisiana IceGators continue to stack their training camp roster with the addition of six more players. Goaltender Matt Cooper from Iowa State will compete with Matic Marinsek for the opportunity to backup Adam Courchaine between the Cajundome pipes. Jacob Laliberte was a scoring machine in Junior A, and played four years at RPI with retired goalie Scott Diebold. Laliberte spent training camp with the Adirondack Thunder before making the trip south. Previously rumored signee Vlad Gavrik was formally announced by the IceGators, and the 6’4″ Ukrainian will bring a physical presence at next week’s camp. Forwards Johnny Daniels from D3 St. Anselm’s College, Radoslav Konecny from the Czech Republic, and blueliner Matt Geurts from D3 St. Olaf College complete the latest batch of IceGator signees. The IceGators’ signee list now numbers 28 players, and they may add a couple more players before camp begins.
We make our way from Lafayette up I-55 to Southaven, where the Mississippi RiverKings – the IceGators first regular season opponent – add a forward and a goalie to their training camp roster. Matt Grogan from UConn becomes the second goaltender signed by the Kings this season. Grogan missed last season due to injury, but posted a 2.47 GAA and a .923 SV% for the Huskies during the 2013-14 campaign. Also joining the RiverKings is Dartmouth forward Charlie Mosey. Mosey scored 13 points (6G, 7A) in 32 games for the Big Green. Training camp opens in Southaven on October 13th with a public Fan Fest at the Landers Center.
Next, we head to the white sand beaches of Pensacola, Florida, where the Ice Flyers extend camp invites to a pair of forwards from their recent free agent camp. Gehrett Sargis led the FHL Danville Dashers in scoring last season with 33 goals and 28 assists, and Joel Ahlin comes to the Flyers from Sweden, where he scored 16 goals and 15 assists with Division 1 Värmdö HC.
Finally, we finish with the Peoria Rivermen. The defending regular season champs add a big defenseman to their camp roster with the signing of former Quad City Mallard Ben Woodley. The 6’6″ blueliner has only 32 games under his belt over the past three seasons, but still hopes to earn a spot on coach Jean-Guy Trudel’s roster. The Rivermen welcome back forward Adam Stuart back from training camp with the Evansville IceMen and say goodbye to Steve Morra, who retires from hockey after two professional seasons with the Rivermen.
Training camps across the SPHL will formally open on October 14th, preseason games will take place during the weekend of the 16th-18th, the 18-man roster deadline will be due on the 19th, and opening night in the SPHL will be on October 23rd. Keep up with the latest SPHL news here on The Sin Bin, Facebook, Twitter, and on my personal blog.
Two weeks until opening night. Are you ready for some hockey? We are!