Open tryout invitees announced.

Three lucky open-tryout campers have been invited to take part in the Reign’s main camp beginning Friday:

Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights, Josh Newton of Riverside, and Gabriel Andre of Edmonton.

Thomson, you might recall, was among six open tryout players invited to take part in the Reign’s inaugural training camp. He was also among the final players cut (check out the story I wrote about Thomson at the time, after the jump).

Newton is an experienced player from a large hockey-playing family that includes younger brother and Ducks prospect Jake Newton.

Andre was also an invitee to the Las Vegas Wranglers’ camp a year ago after passing the Wranglers’ open tryout. He has quite a story, and a collection of gnarly videos, from something known as Red Bull Crashed Ice.

Thomson, Newton and Andre will be needed with a total of 10 off-season signees currently in American Hockey League camps: Pierre-Andre Bureau (Manchester), Eric Doyle (Manchester), Jordan Hill (Manchester), Kyle Kraemer (Manchester), Jordan Morrison (Manchester), C.J. Stretch (Manchester), Reggie Traccitto (Manchester), Aaron Lewadniuk (Manitoba), Matt Delahey (Providence) and Dusty Collins (San Antonio).

Continue reading

(A lot) more David Walker.

In case you missed the full story on David Walker’s return to Ontario, click here. After my interview with Walker, Reign head coach Karl Taylor added that the defenseman was curious about learning more about the coaching/management side of hockey.

“David inquired about it. He’ll help in different areas, learn about what we do administratively,” Taylor said. “But he’s a player, number one. If he doesn’t do well, he’ll be benched.”

Walker – who would someday make a great coach for whatever beat writer gets to interview him on a day-to-day basis – had plenty to say that didn’t make it into the paper:

Continue reading

Karl Taylor on the open free agent tryout.

Some 30-plus players descended on Riverside Ice Town this year for the Reign’s two-day open tryout camp. The crop might not have been as large or deep as years past, but it did attract one camper from Korea and another from Saskatoon.

“Everyone’s in there with the right attitude,” coach Karl Taylor said. “They’re trying to use it as a gauge to see how far they are away from trying to play hockey and make a few bucks doing it. It gives them a good experience.”

Here’s what else Taylor had to say:
Continue reading

Zacharias re-signs, Zemlak assigned.

On the same day the Reign announced that goaltender Mike Zacharias had re-signed for the 2010-11 season, the Kings assigned Garrett Zemlak to their ECHL affiliate.

Suffice it to say, the battle for the two goalie positions in Ontario figures to be a fierce one. Zacharias is well aware.

“I know what the job is. That’s the profession were in. I have to fight for a spot,” he said. “I’ve been in this situation before, just not on this level. It’ll be a little different, intense. It’ll be very competitive.”

In his first pro season, the 25-year-old spent his first professional season with the Reign last year, appearing in 24 games and finishing the season 10-6-3 with an .894 save percentage and a goals-against average of 3.28. Zacharias lost the No. 1 mantle to Curtis Darling early in the season, saw more ice time late in the season and was instrumental in the Reign’s late playoff push, but was on the bench again to start the season-ending series in Las Vegas.

Zemlak got a long look from the Kings in their development camp earlier this summer, their rookie tournament against the Phoenix Coyotes and again in training camp. The rookie allowed four goalies in a 7-1 rookie tournament loss to Phoenix, and did not appear in an NHL exhibition game.

Kellen Briggs, who played for the Reign in 2008-09 but spent last season in Germany, has also signed for the upcoming season.

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Walker says ‘guten tag’ to Ontario.

David Walker’s German hockey career didn’t last long.

After attempting to latch on with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL, the veteran defenseman is returning to the Reign.

“They told me they were happy with what I had done, but were going to go with another guy who had more experience in the league,” Walker said. “The first couple days, there was a bitter taste in my mouth, but when I decided to come back, I was focused on that from the day I decided. It was all about the Reign. I’m moved on.”

The first player to sign with the Reign, Walker had a career year in 2009-10. The 31-year-old blueliner ranked fifth in assists among all ECHL defensemen with 35. Walker finished with seven goals, 42 points and 106 penalty minutes in 71 games.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.