Reign re-sign Walker, Rheault, add Pearce.

Forwards Geoff Walker, Jon Rheault and Robert Pearce have signed contracts with the Reign, the team announced today.

Walker and Rheault were integral pieces to the team’s inaugural roster. A 6-3, 225-pound wing, Walker was the team’s leader in goals (21) and co-leader in points (48) in 68 games. Rheault’s speed made him a valuable two-way player. He split the season between Manchester of the AHL and Ontario, where he had 19 goals and 41 points in 51 games.

Pearce, a 6-1, 195-pound left wing, joins the Reign from the University of New Brunswick, where he was a four-year teammate of Denny Johnston.
Continue reading

Reign: Welcome Brian Matte

The story of how Brian Matte landed in the Western Hockey League a year ago is worth retelling.

In short, he was hoping to play for an NCAA program after two seasons in the lower-tier British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). When that didn’t work out he tried out for the Prince George (B.C.) Cougars, a WHL squad in his home town, who were able to add him to their roster only because they had room for another 20-year-old (junior-league teams are allowed to carry just three).

Lo and behold, Matte made the roster. The Cougars’ coach had to go somewhat out of his way to convince everyone it wasn’t a publicity stunt, signing a hometown kid to one of his last roster spots.

Then Matte held up his end of the bargain by scoring 17 goals and 30 points in 48 regular-season games. Six goals came on the power play and two came short-handed, which tied for the WHL lead among rookies.
Continue reading

John Murray signs in AHL.

Goaltender John Murray, still the Reign’s all-time leader in shutouts, has signed with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

In 24 games for the Reign last season, Murray went 13-8-3 with a .917 save percentage, two shutouts and a 2.81 goals-against average. He appeared in only two games for the Mississippi Sea Wolves after he was traded to make room for Kellen Briggs at midseason.

In his lone career AHL game last season for Syracuse, Murray stopped 11 of 13 shots in a 37-minute relief appearance.

Reign sign two rookie forwards.

The Reign have signed left wings Brian Matte and Tyler Mugford, adding to a forward corps that already includes returning centers Jon Francisco and Tim Kraus.

The 21-year-old Matte, listed at 6-feet and 185 pounds, spent 2008-09 with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars in his native Prince George, British Columbia. He registered 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) and 71 penalty minutes in 48 regular-season games, as well as two points (1g, 1a) and seven penalty minutes in four playoff games.

The Cougars were near the bottom of the standings at 25-44-3, but Matte still managed to post a minus-6 rating — best among the team’s regular forwards. His 30 points were eighth on the team in scoring.

The 24-year-old Mugford, listed at 6-1 and 190 pounds, played four seasons with Cornell University from 2005-09, scoring 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) and 189 penalty minutes in 127 games. Last season, the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference defensive player of the year.

“Matte comes with high recommendation, and is a solid forward who will bring his two-way style to the ice in Ontario next season,” coach Karl Taylor said in a statement. “We are looking forward to seeing Mugford improve at the professional level.”

Reign roundup from Kings camp.

Bud Holloway, Jeff Zatkoff and Colten Teubert have been summering in El Segundo the past week at Kings development camp, under the tutelage of Kings coaches as well as Reign coach Karl Taylor.

Reign right wing Geoff Walker was a late addition and made his mark on the offensive end. According to the Kings’ official Web site, he was instrumental in one of the better scoring chances of a 1-1 game: “Geoff Walker threaded a precise centering pass to a streaking Garret Roe, only to have Jeff Zatkoff rise up to the occasion and make the stop.” Holloway scored a goal in another scrimmage.

Since we were in Las Vegas for UFC 100 over the weekend, that’s all we have about Walker. However, Kings beat writer Rich Hammond was on hand to fill in a few blanks. Click here to read his interview with Teubert.

Interviews with Zatkoff (who is now apparently heading east to train with some Carolina Hurricanes players) and Holloway (who was at the rookie camp for the fourth year) can be found here on the Kings’ Web site.