Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL: Jacksonville Icemen Training Camp Roster Taking Shape

The Jacksonville Icemen have added forward Pier-Olivier Grandmaison to the club’s 2018-2019 training camp roster.

Grandmaison, 24, will be making his professional debut in the States after playing in France and Australia the past three seasons. The Trois-Rivières, Quebec native was named the Australian Ice Hockey League’s MVP last month after playing 28 games for the Perth Thunder where he amassed 67 points (28G, 39A). The AIHL season runs opposite of North American and European seasons, and many players choose to hone their skills over the summer in the amateur Australian league.

Prior to his AIHL stint, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound forward played two seasons for Nantes in the French Ice Hockey Federation. In the most recent campaign, Grandmaison recorded 38 points (19G, 19A) in 28 games.

The first captain of the Icemen, Garet Hunt, has also resigned.

The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native is entering his 11th pro season with 633 ECHL games under his belt. He’s on track to breaking into the top five ECHL leaders in career games played–currently, number five is former Jacksonville Lizard Kings player Allan Sirois, with 687 games. The gritty forward currently sits at number two in career ECHL penalty minutes with 2,398.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Jacksonville for the 2018-2019 hockey season,” said Hunt. “Playing at Veterans Memorial Arena in front of the some of the loudest fans in the League was unparalleled, and I can’t wait for October 13th!”

Last season with the Icemen, the 5-foot-8,190-pound captain notched 23 points (14G, 9A) in 68 games played. Prior to joining the Icemen, Hunt played two seasons for the Alaska Aces before the team was sold, and six seasons with the Stockton Thunder before that team was sold and relocated. The veteran leader has worn a letter in six of his ten years as a pro.

“I think Garet had a good year last year, he was by himself as far as veterans go,” said coach Jason Christie. “He’s not only good in the community, but in the locker room. He’s a hard worker and he creates space for other teammates on the ice.”

Earlier this month forward the club announced that Everett Clark will return this season.

Clark, 22, began his professional career last season with the Icemen, recording 25 points (10G, 15A) in 55 games. The Whitby, Ontario native previously played in the Ontario Hockey League, a major junior ice hockey league for ages 16-21 in the Canadian Hockey League. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward played 236 games in the OHL, notching 111 points (46G, 65A) over four seasons.

“Everett came in last year and had a lot of ups and downs like many first year guys, but he came on strong towards the end of the season,” said coach Jacksonville Jason Christie. “He’s got bite in his game and a competitiveness–that’s what he has to bring each and every night. We’re really looking for big things from him this year.”

In Jacksonville, Clark got the rare opportunity to play pro hockey alongside his brother Emerson, 25, before the elder Clark brother was called up to the San Jose Barracuda (AHL). Emerson has signed with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) for the 2018-2019 season. The youngest Clark brother, Christian, 18, was selected by the London Knights in the 2016 OHL draft and played last season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Forward Josh Erickson and  rookie defenseman Trey Phillips have also been added to the training camp roster.

Erickson joined the Icemen last season for 25 games where he recorded 11 points (8G, 3A) on loan from the Knoxville Ice Bears (SPHL). The 25-year-old Roseau, MN native also played 5 games for the Kansas City Mavericks (ECHL) in his rookie debut. Prior to that, the 5-foot-10, 181-pound forward spent four seasons at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA) where he served as an alternate captain in his senior campaign.

“I’m very grateful and excited to have the opportunity to return to such a great organization in Jacksonville,” said Erickson.

Phillips, 25, joins the Icemen fresh off a collegiate career at the University of Vermont (NCAA) where he notched 15 points (4G, 11A) in 100 games. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound Okotoks, Alberta native had a successful juniors career as a member of the Canmore Eagles, where earned the 2014 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) MVP award and was recognized as the top defenseman nationally in Canadian Junior A hockey that same year.

Phillips joins Wacey Rabbit, the 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward started last season in Jacksonville before heading overseas to play in Dukla Jihlava (Czech Extraliga).

Rabbit skated in 17 Czech games recording 5 points (2G, 3A). The 31-year-old vet has spent several seasons overseas in his career including stints in Croatia, Norway, Italy, and Japan.

“We only saw Wacey a short time last year, but he’s a guy that just commands respect in the locker room. He plays hard, and he’s ready to go each and every night,” said coach Jason Christie.

The Icemen open their second season on Saturday, Oct. 13  at Veterans Memorial Arena against the South Carolina Stingrays. The puck drop has been moved up to 7:00 p.m. ET for all games, except Fridays and Sundays, when the start time will remain at 7:30 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET, respectively.

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