PENSACOLA, Fla. – Since we last checked in on the Pensacola Ice Flyers’ 2019 training camp roster, the team has added depth both up front and on the blue line. Last week, the Ice Flyers announced two defensemen in the returning Gabriel Chuckran and rookie Tyler Andrews. On Tuesday, the day after the Ice Flyers named their new assistant coach, the team announced the re-signing of veteran forward Ryan Marcuz.
While technically Chuckran is a returner, 2019-20 will be his rookie season. He finished last season with the Ice Flyers, appearing in just seven games. He had one assist, four penalty minutes, and a minus-three rating. He joined Pensacola after a four-year career with NCAA Division III UMass-Boston. He served as the team’s assistant captain in his junior season, ascended to captain as a senior, and had 109 career games for the Beacons.
Chuckran finished his career in second place on the Beacons’ all-time games played list and was heavily leaned on by the coaching staff to be a leader. He was relied upon to hold his team accountable when the coaches couldn’t due to the NCAA’s limitation on time coaches can actually work with players. Even if he doesn’t end up wearing a letter on his chest this season, his leadership will undoubtedly be relied upon in the Ice Flyers’ locker room.
Andrews also comes to the Ice Flyers from the Division III ranks, having played at powerhouse program St. Norbert College. He also made his professional debut late last season with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators, appearing in one game but being held off the scoresheet.
Like Chuckran, Andrews cracked the 100-game plateau and appeared in 107 games for the Green Knights. While at St. Norbert, Andrews was a teammate of former Ice Flyers forward Tanner Froese. Andrews can bring championship experience and knowledge to the Ice Flyers as he was a part of the St. Norbert 2017-18 team that won the Division III National Championship.
Marcuz, a long-time forward with the now-defunct Mississippi RiverKings, returns to Pensacola for his second season with the Ice Flyers. The announcement of his return didn’t surprise too many people; Marcuz seemed eager to be back, even almost saying he planned to return on an episode of The Sin Bin’s Inside the SPHL podcast late last season.
Marcuz brings consistent scoring to the lineup. Last season’s 0.56 points per game (PPG) was the lowest of his career (in years where he played at least a quarter of the season), and that can easily be explained by the team’s offensive struggles as a whole early on in the season.
In his SPHL career, Marcuz averages 0.68 PPG through 259 games. That’s a level of consistency any team would kill to have, as that comes out to an average of 38.08 points in a 56-game season. Any coach in the league would be ecstatic to land a guy who is almost a lock to get 40 points.
Those 259 SPHL games (plus three ECHL and 17 Federal Hockey League games) are also invaluable. Marcuz’s experience is a huge crutch for Ice Flyers Head Coach Rod Aldoff and Assistant Coach John McLean to lean on. The SPHL tends to be a young man’s league, with many players retire after a short time. Having someone like Marcuz, who has not only seen tons of situations and can react accordingly but has also become familiar with a lot of the players in the SPHL, is a huge asset for the Ice Flyers. His past film study and game experience can help him provide tips to a team like the Ice Flyers that already has 10 rookies among their 15 announced signings thus far.
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