The Mississippi RiverKings have come a long way since transitioning to the SPHL from the CHL in 2011. They’ve upgraded their logo, simplified their colors, and of course, said goodbye to Sheldon. Although a lot may have changed, there is one thing that will always return: Royalty.
Head Coach: Derek Landmesser will enter his seventh season as head coach for the RiverKings. Like any coach, you get lucky, with your returning players, but building up a rookie can have its challenges. Overall, the past six seasons have led them into the playoffs, ending each season in a consistent placing, but never a championship. As of the 2016-17 season, his coaching record is 173-133-30.
Captain: Devin Mantha is returning for his fifth season with the RiverKings and his second as team captain.
Last Season: 32-21-3 – Lost in first round of playoffs against the Huntsville Havoc bringing the end of their season in fifth place.
High hopes for the RiverKings were seen at the at the start of the 2016-17 season. Training camp looked promising, several of their stars returned, and they had reserved the dates with The Landers Center for playoffs. (Fans needed to be reassured they wouldn’t lose home ice advantage to the circus as years past) Rookie, Mike Moran, ended his season with 53 Points. (29 goals – 24 Assists) Brad Barone did great as a King with 991 saves. Even defenseman Joe Sova had 26 points. Every ingredient for a championship was available. Unfortunately, they weren’t used together at the right time.
- #NetWorthy – One of the biggest responsibilities in hockey is the protecting the net. Will the RiverKings find their secret weapon this season?
- Wherefore art thou Mike Moran? Sadly, it was recently discovered that Mike Moran retired from hockey.
- Leaning on Defense – Many of last season’s players have stepped “Forward,” but where is their defense hiding? Defense is a definite weak point, having to play a forward as a defenseman speaks volume. Training camp this season brings one known defensive player back to the team. It looks like they will have a lot of skates to fill.
- High Five – The RiverKings have been in fifth place four of the last six seasons.
- Ding Ding – The last mighty enforcer to take the rink was Tyler Sheldrake displaying an impressive 190 Penalty Minutes in 2013-14.
- Take Me Home Country Roads – As the RiverKings were fourth best in the league last season on home ice with an 18-8-2 home record.
- Let’s hear it for the Rookies – Charlie Mosey (2015-16) and Mike Morgan (2016-17) were leaders in assists the past two seasons.
- Devin Mantha – Avid golfer, when not on the ice you can find Devin on a golf course.
- Ryan Marcuz – Ryan recently became a fireman this past summer, nothing like playing with fire and ice!
- Matt Harrington – One fish, two fish, three fish SCORE. Living near the coast, Matt spends his off-season fishing.
Key Additions –
- Tyler Green – Previously playing for both the Peoria Rivermen and the Fayetteville FireAntz, Tyler has signed with the RiverKings.
Blocked and Reported
- Peter Di Salvo – Headed out east to play for Fayetteville.
- Tyler Barr – Retired and now coaching the NA3HL Louisiana Drillers with former IceGators captain Shawn MacNeil.
- Trever Hertz – The 38-point scoring forward for Knoxville last season was crowned a RiverKing in a trade on Monday… until he was dealt to Pensacola two days later.
- Todd Hosmer/Mike Grace – Retired.
New players + New staff = New Outlook? Playing the right cards, the Kings could have themselves a #royalflush
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