The Fayetteville Marksmen, formerly known as the Fayetteville Fireantz, enter their first season with a new name and a new attitude. To hit the mark, higher attendance numbers and continued success on the ice will be goals for the upcoming season!
Head Coach: Nick Mazzolini makes his head coaching debut after four seasons with the ECHL Alaska Aces and a couple of years in Germany and Italy.
Last Season: 36-17-3, 2nd place regular season; knocked out in first round of playoffs by Pensacola Ice Flyers
The Fireantz, now the Marksmen, started off slow out of the gate last season prompting then-coach Jeff Bes to make a series of changes that turned the season around. Players like Jake Hauswirth, Bobby Chaumont, Mark Corbett, and Brad Campagna were added to the line-up via a series of trades and signings and the team went on a hot streak that rocketed them to the top of the standings. Backstopping the team last season was SPHL MVP and Goalie of the Year Sean Bonar as he had a record-breaking year in the SPHL. Forward Taylor Thompson was a steady presence up front on both sides of the ice.
- Jake Hauswirth returns to the team this season and will be relied upon for offensive skill. He was the SPHL’s top goal scorer last season.
- Sean Bonar is now in Pensacola with former head coach Jeff Bes. Entering is the new goalie combo of Matt Zenzola and Peter Di Salvo. Both goalies bring SPHL experience to the team and I expect there to be a timeshare in net this season, a much different approach than last season.
- Nick Mazzolini enters his first season as a head coach. He has won a championship as a player in the ECHL with the Alaska Aces and should bring a fresh new championship attitude to the Marksmen.
- Fan favorite Brad Drobot returns to Fayetteville and will be relied upon for team leadership and also doing what he loves to do….protect the skill guys on the team.
- The games against the Pensacola Ice Flyers should be interesting this season with all the familiarity. Jeff Bes is in Pensacola along with goalie Sean Bonar. Bes will, of course, be familiar with a few of the Marksmen players. These games should be entertaining and have an extra little incentive for both teams.
- Jake Hauswirth returns to lead the offense this season. A true sniper and goal scorer with veteran leadership.
- Matt Zenzola begins his tenure with the Marksmen in goal and brings a championship resume with him.
- Speedy forward Shane Bennett begins his professional career in Fayetteville and will provide some serious speed along the wing.
Blocked and Reported
- Taylor Thompson has not resigned as he signed a contract to play in France. Recent reports have him leaving the team for personal reasons so could he potentially be making a return.
- Sean Bonar is now in Pensacola and will see if he can continue his domination of the SPHL. Zenzola and Di Salvo have big skates to fill in goal for the Marksmen.
Despite quite a few of unknowns this season for the Marksmen, the pieces are there to have a successful season. The leadership of Hauswirth and Drobot will be key as well as the 1-2 combo of Zenzola and Di Salvo in net. Coach Mazz won an ECHL championship as Captain of the Alaska Aces. Can he bring the championship mentality and take a young but talented team to the top of the SPHL? Time will tell, however, championship-caliber players simply know what it takes to win and Mazzolini will bring that to Fayetteville.
What Say You?