Hello readers, I’m glad to have joined The Sin Bin. I’ll cover the SPHL and the Louisiana IceGators. In addition to posting news and analysis about the IceGators, I write a weekly recap of activity around the Southern Professional Hockey League. I hope you find my articles informative, edgy, and entertaining. Okay, that’s enough about me, let’s talk hockey!
The SPHL took a break from the flurry of activity over the past two weeks with the help of a short week due to the Labor Day holiday. There have been a few signings and returning players around the league, and we’ll get right to this week’s action.
The Pensacola Ice Flyers get top billing this week when they announced their new jerseys for the upcoming season. Like the Rivermen, the Ice Flyers will feature three sweaters this season: A white jersey, a gray jersey, and this….
I’m keeping the image size small on purpose. I don’t want to be responsible for burning up your screen.
On the bright side, if the Pensacola Bay Center loses power, the referee doesn’t have to stop the game due to darkness.
I predict that opposing goalies are going to protest these jerseys due to temporary blindness. Who do they think they are, referees?
Hopefully, Corey Banfield likes to glow in the dark. Pensacola just re-signed him for his third SPHL season. Banfield was second in scoring last season with 61 points. He should be a lock for 70 this year, blinding netminders in those sweaters.
The Ice Flyers also announced the signings of a pair of rookies this week. Defenseman Nathan Bruyere played two seasons of college hockey in Canada with Lakehead (ON) University. Bruyere had 13 points in 18 games last season for the Thunderwolves. Right winger Blake Hietala comes to the Ice Flyers from Michigan Tech, where he scored five goals and nine assists in 29 games during his senior season.
Columbus announced the least surprising signing of the off-season this week with the return of goalie – and possibly the league’s most popular player – Shannon Szabados to the Cottonmouths. Szabados looks to get plenty of work in the pipes this season with the likely retirement of Andrew Loewen, and she should get these puppies broken in pretty quickly.
Shannon, this is the SPHL. In this league, the pillows aren’t supposed to match the sheets.
We could be looking at a fashion revolution throughout the league this season. Every SPHL netminder will demand color-coordination.
Anarchy is imminent.
Over in Fayetteville, the FireAntz re-signed their captain, center Derek Elliott. Elliott will begin his fourth season in Fayetteville, and his first full season as captain. The Iowa native scored 14 goals and 19 assists in a difficult season, and he will anchor the team under new coach Jeff Bes.
Huntsville picked up two more rookies for their camp roster. Jordan Ruby completed his four years with NCAA Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology, appearing in 65 games. In his senior season, Ruby had a 2.10 GAA with a .924 SV% and played one game with ECHL Toledo. Forward John McGinnis played four years with Division III Bowdoin (ME) College, and scored nine goals and 14 assists in his senior season.
Bravo, Huntsville. This jersey is awesome, however the league may frown if there are matching gloves.
The Havoc could make two minutes for slashing seem like Child’s Play.
Oops. Wrong movie.
The RiverKings added a pair of players this week by re-signing winger Ryan Marcuz and newcomer Nick Duhn. Marcuz split time last season between the RiverKings and FHL Danville, and put up a total of nine goals and 19 assists. Duhn, a center, spent the last four seasons playing for Carleton (ON) University, playing in 52 games and scoring seven points during his collegiate career.
Knoxville re-signed defenseman Bo Driscoll, who was a solid late-season addition to the Ice Bears in their run to the President’s Cup. Joining Driscoll this week is Mattias Eriksson, a 6’7 blueliner from Sweden.
Regular-season champions Peoria continued to bolster their impressive roster this week by re-signing high-scoring center Garrett Vermeerch. The former SPHL rookie of the year saw his production dip slightly last season, but still cracked the 40-point plateau with 18 goals and 24 assists. The Rivermen added two additional defensemen, former Fayetteville blueliner Brandon Greenside and collegiate player Mike Gunn. Gunn played in a couple of games for Peoria last season after completing his college career at Northeastern.
Observant readers are probably thinking right now, “Isn’t today Thursday?” Well done, I released my weekly recap a day early. I’m heading to Pensacola on Friday to catch the Emerald Coast Beer Festival for a weekend of beer, beach, and shenanigans.
I’ll try not to paint the town in day-glo green…