CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League are proud to announce the initial roster for the 2015-16 season. The players will participate in IceRays Training Camp beginning this morning at the American Bank Center.
This season’s roster consists of 22 players, including eight players with NAHL experience, seven of whom return from appearances with the 2014-15 IceRays squad. The IceRays carry 13 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders broken down further into 18 American-born players, three Canadian-born, and one international skater. By year, seven players are in their last year of junior eligibility, six were born each in 1996 and 1997, and three were born in 1998. The team has flexibility under the league-maximum 25-man roster to acquire more skaters prior to the October 1 cut deadline.
Returning skaters include: forward Ryan Cusin, who finished fourth on the roster in assists (31) and points (47) last year; forward Nathan Bryer, who led the 2014-15 squad in overtime game-winning goals (3); forward Brad LeLievre, a NAHL journeyman who played his 150th NAHL game on Mar. 21, 2015 in Odessa; defenseman Trevor Heuser, one of three alternate captains on the 2014-15 roster that can earn his 100th NAHL game this season; defenseman Keenan Spillum, the youngest returning skater in his second NAHL season; and Regen Cavanagh, who played six games last year as an affiliate and joins the roster as a full-time member.
The four international roster spots consist of three Canadian-born players and one from Sweden, with all three Canadians picked up by the IceRays in the 2015 NAHL Draft. Forwards Carter Johnson and Brad Power were selected in the 3rd Round with Power going 55th overall and Johnson at 67th overall. Power was an impact player in the MHL, finishing second on the Summerside Western Capitals in points (58) and first in power play goals (10). Johnson finished second in assists (28) and points (45) last season on the Swan Valley Stampeders (MJHL) and is the first player in IceRays history to be drafted in consecutive years.
Forward Drake Lindsay was drafted 81st overall (4th Round) by the IceRays and also crosses over from the MJHL. He was named MJHL 2nd Team All-Star following a 63-point performance with the Neepawa Natives, which landed him sixth in the league in scoring at year’s end. The final import spot belongs to defenseman Jonathan Hansson, a 19-year-old native of Gothenburg, Sweden, who comes for his first season of American junior hockey following a strong campaign with Frölunda Hockey Club in the J20 SuperElit. He finished the 2014-15 season with 29 points through 38 games including a +16 rating, his highest of his junior career, and gained a reputation for being a “lethal” offensive defenseman among some experts.
Both goaltenders are fresh faces to the IceRays organization and hope to provide stability in an area of need. Graham Hunt, a 20-year-old American, played with Johnson in Swan Valley last season and was drafted with the team’s first available pick (49th overall, 3rd Round) in the 2015 NAHL Draft. He finished third in the MJHL in save percentage (.915) and was named a MJHL 2nd Team All-Star. He is considered to be a strong force in net by scouts. Prior to IceRays Main Camp in July, Dryden McKay was acquired by the team from the Springfield Jr. Blues to fill the second netminder opening. The 17-year-old finished eighth in save percentage (.917) in his rookie season while helping the Jr. Blues to a 4-2-0 record against South Division rival Topeka RoadRunners and compiling a sub-2.20 goals-against average and plus-.940 save percentage.
The IceRays will have their first skate as a complete unit at the American Bank Center this morning at 10:00 a.m. Full details on the 2015-16 roster can be viewed here.
The IceRays open the 2015-16 regular season on Friday, September 18 at 7:05 p.m. against the Topeka RoadRunners at Landon Arena. Contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).