The off-ice report

Monday, 10th July 2006

Newcastle Vipers have announced the re-signing of forward Jeremy Cornish, with the former London Racer signing on for his second season with the Tyneside team.  Vipers Coach Rob Wilson is pleased with the return, and sees Cornish as a valuable signing both on and off the ice.  "Jeremy is a great guy for the image of the club," says Coach Wilson, "he's really good with all the fans and he loves going out and speaking to new people who have never been to a hockey game.  Last seaon we made some giant strides on the ice, which was unexpected, we are now looking to take some steps forward off the ice and Jeremy will be an integral part of that aim."

Edinburgh Capitals will reportedly be without the services of forward Peter Konder and defenceman Jeff Marshall this forthcoming season, with Konder signing for SK Iskra Banska Bystrica and Marshall signing for Dundee Stars.

Hull Stingrays have announced the return of Sergiy Rublivsky, with the Ukranian forward returning to Hull after a stint with Berkut Kiev.  Stingrays owner Mike Pack is happy with the signing, saying "We are really pleased that we have been able to agree terms with Sergiy and get him back in a Stingrays shirt.  The fans got used to his whole-hearted performances last time around and as soon as we knew that we were Elite League bound we got on the phone."

Hull have also confirmed the return of Slava Koulikov for a fourth consecutive season.  "We all know that Slava has talent to burn," says Mike Pack, "and although not having his greatest season last year he was vying for the highest British trained scorer the year before when Hull were in the British National League picking up a point per game.  He has the potential to score great goals and win us games.  I know that Slava had a couple of tempting offers elsewhere but is committed to helping the team establish themselves in the top league."

Basingstoke Bison have confirmed the return of Greg Chambers for a second season with the club.  "I had a successful season last year in the Elite League and I am looking forward to returning," says Chambers.  "The fans are awesome at the Bison, and I am very pleased that Doug Sheppard will be our coach for the new season."  Coach Sheppard is equally enthused with the signing, saying "Greg is one of the most talented players in this league and we are very lucky to have him at the Bison.  I'll be counting on Greg to light the lamp on a regular basis this season."

Also returning to wear the Bison colours again this season is forward John Wheaton, returning to Basingstoke for his second season as a pro hockey player.  "John had an outstanding rookie season," says Coach Sheppard, "and hopefully he can build on that and provide us with that great energy and vision that we saw last season."   Basingstoke have also announced the signing of British forward Scott Spearing, who played on a two-way contract with the Bison and with Bracknell Bees last season, and also th return of British defenceman Luke Reynolds.

Nottingham Panthers have signed former London Racers netminder Evan Lindsay, taking him from the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the CHL.  Panthers Coach Mike Ellis knows how important it is to sign a solid netminder.  "This was a tough decision to make," says Coach Ellis. "There were a number of strong applicants for the job of Panthers' netminder.  Evan has won trophies before and he knows what it takes to win, he's hungry and determined and I think he's the man for the job."  Lindsay himself is relishing the challenge, saying "I've got a point to prove in Britain and Nottingham is a big club with a great reputation.  Mike Ellis is giving me an opportunity that I intend to grab with both hands."

Coventry Blaze have re-signed forward Gareth Owen, signing him back from Telford Tigers.  Owen played in Coventry for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons before moving to Telford for two seasons, but Blaze Coach Paul Thompson has brought him back to Coventry.  "Gareth is a great guy to have in the team," says Coach Thompson, "he's great in the room and works well with the younger players.  I want to recapture that spirit of the Blaze, something I think we missed last year."  Coach Thompson went on to add "It's not just about having a friendly face around though.  I expect him to perform on the ice and step in where needed."

Cardiff Devils have announced the signing of netminder Phil Osaer, a seventh round draft pick for St Louis Blues in 1999.  Devils Coach Ed Patterson is pleased with the signing, saying "Phil is a highly recommended goalie from back home who has AHL and East Coast League experience.  Peter Aubrey came in here last year and he did a great job for us playing some good hockey and he didn't have any AHL experience so it's a step up for us signing a guy of this quality at such a young age."

Cardiff have also announced the signing of Neil Francis and Jason Stone for the forthcoming season, with Coach Ed Patterson promising more signings on the way.  "I have a couple of contract offers out now," says Coach Patterson, "but the real work will be done in July and when we know far more about players available.  But I have my top British guys in place and that's great.  I could scarcely be happier in that respect.  Stoney and Franny are a major part of our team, but that often goes unnoticed.  Jason played some big minutes for the Devils down the stretch last season and more than proved his worth.  The more he plays per night the better he is."  Coach Patterson went on to say, "Franny is our heart, he's a work-horse.  He gives it his all.  Neil does anything and everything for the club and his team-mates.  It's great to have them both back."

by Richard Allan