The Corpus Christi IceRays have trimmed their roster to 22 players, and are still active in adding to their club following their inaugural training camp last weekend, General Manager Pat Dunn announced on Thursday. Last Friday – Sunday in North Texas, the IceRays held their first ever NAHL Training Camp, as the club prepares for their first season in a new league. 22 players made the cut, and will now join new additions over the next month before convening in Corpus Christi at the end of August for a final camp. For more information please call the IceRays at 361.814.PUCK or visit them online at www.goicerays.com.
After reviewing 80 players who attended the camp, IceRays Head Coach Brent Hughes, Assistant Coach Justin Quenneville, and Dunn have cut the roster down while they continue to finalize their team for September’s start to the season. The IceRays coaching staff was excited with what they saw in their first look.
“Our first camp was a true success,” said Quenneville, who was primarily responsible for setting up the event. “Brent (Hughes) and I were extremely impressed with the level of talent. We are both very excited for the start of our training camp in Corpus Christi at the end of August.”
Among those who impressed at the camp were players who were acquired from the former Alpena IceDiggers in conjunction with the IceRays taking over the franchise’s rights. Forwards Brandon Marshall and Sam Cheraso, and defensemen Jason Souva and Kyle Hughes are all Alpena returners who performed well in camp to remain on the roster. They join Ben Hughes, who was recently acquired via a trade with Wenatchee. New faces to the franchise include Beau Walker, Jake Diamond, and Alaskan-born brothers Phoenix and Navaronne Copley. Big, power forward Josh Munford also caught the attention of the coaches and scouts present at the camp.
With 22 talented players making it through the opening audition, the IceRays are pleased with their foundation. However, Hughes said that there is still much to do in the last two months of the off-season. “We saw from camp that we have a strong nucleus to work with,” said Hughes. “But we still have a few pieces missing. (Quenneville) and I are confident that we will find the right players to fill those voids before the beginning of the Corpus camp.”
Options for the IceRays to add to their roster before the season starts can come via trade, free-agency signing, or picking up unsigned players from other North American major junior hockey leagues. NAHL rules stipulate the club’s roster size be no larger than 25 by the start of the season on September 15th, and then an additional cut down to 23 players by October 1st.
In the interim, the IceRays view their first NAHL camp as a big success. “We all were very impressed with the size, skill level, and intensity of the players at the camp,” said Dunn. “We can’t wait to get them and some other hungry players down to South Texas, and let the best players form an IceRays team that will take this league by storm.”