The “skinny” on Garrett Zemlak.

There is nothing small about Garrett Zemlak.

The barrel-chested goaltender is conservatively listed as 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds on the Kings’ rookie camp roster. If he seems larger, it’s because of his peculiar summer passion — MMA and kickboxing — that keeps him in good enough shape to double as an enforcer.

His summer passion also influenced his mask design, in part. There are boxing gloves in the back. In front – well, it’s very green.
Continue reading “The “skinny” on Garrett Zemlak.” »

McEwan: ‘Unless they want the mutant look, my hand-modeling career is over.’

James McEwan thought he merely had a season-ending injury when he broke his thumb in a fight in February. Improbably, it was worse.

As reported today’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, the enforcer doesn’t expect to play his next game with the Reign until late October. The full story is a little confusing and more than a little gruesome.

Here are the highlights from the rest of our interview:
Continue reading “McEwan: ‘Unless they want the mutant look, my hand-modeling career is over.’” »

McEwan coming back for more.

Popular enforcer James McEwan is returning to the Reign for 2010-11, the team announced Friday.

In his second pro season, the 6-foot, 187-pound forward won over fans and teammates with a willingness to drop gloves with anyone — even some of the league’s toughest heavyweights. He collected two goals and 80 penalty minutes in 27 games before being sidelined for the season with a broken thumb, which he suffered in a fight in February.

In his only full ECHL season, McEwan finished third in the league with 227 penalty minutes for the Phoenix Roadrunners in 2008-09. He also played four games for the AHL’s Worcester Sharks that season, collecting 10 penalty minutes.

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

Reign sign Morrison and Beaverson.

Jordan Morrison and Luke Beaverson are former NHL draft picks and college standouts with AHL experience, who are coming off less-than-desirable seasons.

Other than that, the two have little in common — except that they’ve signed with the Reign for 2010-11.

Morrison, 24, is a versatile 6-foot, 170-pound forward who was the runner-up for the ECHL’s Rookie of the Year award in 2009 with the Wheeling Nailers. That season, he was better than a point-per-game player, with 26 goals and 74 points in 63 games. He split last season between the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, Johnstown Chiefs and Wheeling, dipping to 11 goals and 32 points in 65 games.

Beaverson, 25, is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound stay-at-home defenseman. He spent the last three seasons in the system of the Florida Panthers, who drafted him in the ninth round (283rd overall) in 2004. Only 28 of his 78 pro games have been spent in the ECHL; the rest came in the AHL, but only 29 came last season, when Beaverson’s playing time with the Rochester Americans was cut short by injury.

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

Forming the ECHL all-decade team.

The ECHL is taking nominations from fans for its all-decade team, the league’s best players and coaches from 2000-01 to 2009-10.

Here’s the process: Fans may nominate players for team from now through Sept. 24 by e-mailing with the subject line containing “All-Decade Team Nominations.” The ECHL will present a list of qualified nominees in early October and fans will have the opportunity to take part in a final vote on to determine the All-Decade Team. The League will announce the team in November.

The criteria for nominees, per the ECHL: “Players or coaches must have made a significant impact on the ECHL from 2000 through 2010. An individual must have played or coached in parts of at least four seasons from the 2000-01 season through the 2009-10 season to be eligible for the All-Decade Team. Only those accomplishments, statistics, awards, honors and achievements earned during ECHL play should be taken into account when nominating players or coaches for the All-Decade Team. Final nominations will be based on voting and the meeting of certain criteria.”

So, who in the brief history of Reign hockey has the best chance of meeting those criteria?
Continue reading “Forming the ECHL all-decade team.” »

Reign welcome Bureau, re-welcome Collins.

The Reign announced the signing of two centers Friday — one of whom should be familiar to denizens of The Bank.

Dusty Collins, who played in 24 games for the Reign in 2008-09, has re-signed with the only ECHL team he’s ever played for. The former fifth-round NHL draft pick (Tampa Bay Lightning, 2004) played in 11 AHL games in 2006-07, then spent the entire 2007-08 season with the Central Hockey League’s Arizona Sundogs before signing with the expansion Reign.

Collins had six goals and 14 points in his brief stint in Ontario. He spent the rest of 2008-09 with the Manchester Monarchs (4+2=6 in 16 games) and the Manitoba Moose (7+1=8 in 34 games), who re-signed him to an AHL contract prior to last season.

Collins had two goals, four points and 93 penalty minutes in 70 games with the Moose in 2009-10. The 25-year-old also appeared in five AHL playoff games, scoring one goal.

He’ll compete in training camp for ice time with rookie Pierre-Andre Bureau.

The 26-year-old was a standout in the QMJHL before moving on to a five-year career with the University of Moncton — a French-language university in New Brunswick that competes in CIS. He’s coming off a nine-goal, 24-point season in 28 games. The 5-11, 183-pound center averaged more than a point per game (14+20=34 in ’08-09 and 14+19=33 in ’07-08) the previous two seasons in Moncton.

With the Prince Edward Island Rocket in the QMJHL, Bureau was a teammate of current Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre, and an opponent of former Reign forward Geoff Walker.

The PEI Rocket retired Bureau’s #22 jersey in 2009. The St. Georges Beauce, Quebec native holds the QMJHL record for most games played with a single team (346) and played his rookie season under assistant coach Daniele Sauvageau, the first female coach in QMJHL history.

Training camp dates announced.

The Reign’s training camp schedule is set: The first session – which is open to the public – begins at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 at Center Ice Arena in Ontario. The next two days’ practices will also be open to the public, from 1:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Saturday at Center Ice Arena, and from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at Riverside Ice Town (10540 Magnolia Ave.).

All other training camp dates are closed to the public (but we’ll be there). The Reign open the regular season in Stockton on Oct. 15.

The Reign have two preseason games, both against the Thunder, on Friday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena, and Saturday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. at The Bank.