Dusty Collins walked down a familiar hallway today (save the
2010 ECHL All-Star logo painted on the wall) inside Citizens Business Bank
Arena. Chad Starling, Tim Kraus and David Walker were the first to greet him, each
with a look of pleasant surprise.
Like the rest of Ontario, they had not seen Collins in the
building since Dec. 2008, when the center played his last game in a Reign
uniform. Collins went to the American Hockey League and didn’t return until
today, when the San Antonio Rampage had to make room for an influx of forwards
and returned Collins to the Reign.
“I played very well there. A little bit of limited ice time, but I
fulfilled my role, doing what I had to do,” he said. “It was a numbers
After adding former NHL forwards Andrew Ebbett and Jed Ortmeyer, the
Rampage were forced to send three centers to the ECHL – Collins, Colin Long and
Tyler Mosienko. The latter two were assigned to the Las Vegas Wranglers.
As a fourth-line center in the AHL, Collins was scoreless in
seven games this season in San Antonio. He had nine goals and three assists
over two seasons with the Manitoba Moose.
In Ontario, Collins can be counted on to score more frequently, in
addition to bringing energy and a physical presence. He had six goals,
14 points and 34 penalty minutes in 24 games as a member of the
inaugural Reign squad.
“When he left last time, he was just starting to get going,” coach Karl Taylor said. “He’s
been in the American League almost two full years now. He’s got a lot of good
experience from that, so we look forward to him helping us out.”
More from Collins, and more notes from Monday’s practice, in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.