Welcome to this week’s edition of Around the SPHL. There’s only 5 weeks until opening night, and has been a relatively quiet week around the SPHL. Only four teams have announced player signings, and the six-game preseason schedule was released. Expect this pattern to continue until the trickle-down from the ECHL camps begin to stock SPHL rosters early next month. There were a couple of big stories this week around the league: A familiar face gets recognized and a couple of teams swap snipers.
RiverKings Retiring Landmesser’s Jersey on November 6th
The Mississippi RiverKings get this week’s marquee with the announcement that they will retire head coach Derek Landmesser’s #55 during their November 6th game against the Macon Mayhem. Landmesser, a defenseman, began his career with the then-CHL Memphis RiverKings in the 2000-01 season, won a championship with them in 2003, named to the All-CHL team three times, and won most outstanding defenseman once. Landmesser played ten seasons for the RiverKings until their final CHL season in 2010-11. He then transitioned behind the bench and named coach when the RiverKings joined the SPHL in 2011, and has since compiled a 113-94-17 record. Last season, Landmesser coached the RiverKings to their first SPHL President’s Cup final after three first round losses.
Landmesser has several connections to the Louisiana IceGators. He has played for former IceGators coaches Doug Shedden and Kevin Kaminski. Former teammates include General Manager Lou Dumont, and former standouts Don Parsons, Nick Stadjuhar, and Cory Cyrenne. Landmesser has also played for three NHL coaches: current Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice, former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, and former Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins.
For fifteen years, Derek Landmesser has been the face of the RiverKings and a terrific ambassador of southern hockey. We at The Sin Bin congratulate coach Landmesser on a well-deserved honor.
Ice Bears Trade Berkley Scott to Fayetteville for Trever Hertz
Finally, a trade in the SPHL that doesn’t involve the Louisiana IceGators. Earlier this week, the Fayetteville FireAntz dealt Trever Hertz to the Knoxville Ice Bears for Berkley Scott. Hertz, a 6’0″ left wing, had a good rookie season in Fayetteville and will give a fresh face to the new-look Ice Bears. Minnesota native Scott, a big 6’3″ center, gives the FireAntz a legitimate top-line veteran playmaker. The IceBears get some flexibility under the league’s veteran cap by dealing Scott, who has 226 games of pro experience. The trade could prove risky for the FireAntz, however, as Scott has seen significant time in the ECHL during the last three seasons.
SPHL Announces Six-Game Preseason Slate
Six games are featured in the SPHL’s preseason schedule, released on September 14th. The SPHL preseason runs the weekend before the regular season begins, with teams playing up to two games. The FireAntz will start the preseason by hosting the Macon Mayhem on October 16th, with Huntsville visiting Columbus later that evening. The IceGators travel to Pensacola on the 17th for an afternoon game. Later, Macon hosts the Cottonmouths and Fayetteville plays at Knoxville. The final preseason game will be a President’s Cup rematch, with Mississippi hosting the Ice Bears on October 18th. The Peoria Rivermen will not appear in any preseason games this year.
Player Signings Around the SPHL
On Wednesday, the Louisiana IceGators signed a pair of rookies from the college ranks. John Scorcia, a playmaking forward from D3 Salve Regina (RI) College, was a three-year captain for the Seahawks. Scorcia played in 99 games, scoring 40 goals and 65 assists in his four year collegiate career. The IceGators also added a second goalie to their training camp roster. Matic Marincek comes to Louisiana after finishing up his college time at D3 Norwich (VT) University, compiling a .905 SV% and a 1.70 GAA in 29 appearances for the Cadets. Marincek was equally impressive as a junior player in his native Slovenia, where he played in Division 2 of the U-18 World Junior Championships – allowing no goals in two international appearances.
The Macon Mayhem have finally signed an player! Curtis Megginson, a veteran defenseman who has played three seasons for the Mayhem’s forerunner, the Augusta RiverHawks. After the RiverHawks ceased operations in 2013, Megginson found himself playing the last two seasons with cellar-dwellers Bloomington and Huntsville. The Sin Bin was surprised that Mayhem coach Kevin Kerr’s first signing was not one of their expansion draft selections. One down… twenty-nine to go.
SPHL All-Rookie honoree Linden Bahm has re-signed with the RiverKings. Bahm was third among SPHL rookies last season with 15 goals and 20 assists. Mississippi coach Derek Landmesser has high hopes for Bahm’s development this season.
Former Denver Cutthroat Phil Tesoriero has re-upped for his second season with the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The 5’9″ stay-at-home defenseman played 48 games for the Ice Flyers last season, scoring 3 goals & 3 assists, 35 penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating.
Other SPHL Headlines
- The Knoxville Ice Bears bring aboard former Boston Bruins staffer Cole Burkhalter as their director of hockey development.
- With Andrew Loewen’s retirement, will Shannon Szabados get the call to be the Columbus Cottonmouths’ #1 goalie? Boom Boom thinks so.
- Last year Zach Josepher spent 11 games with the Ice Flyers in a travel-heavy season. This season, he signs with the Adirondack Thunder.