Traccitto, Popko cut as Reign make room.

Forward Luke Popko and defenseman Reggie Traccitto saw their respective tenures in Ontario end Friday.

Michael Pelech and Jordan Hill are expected to be added to the roster in time for tomorrow night’s game against the Alaska Aces, and Popko and Traccitto — both rookies — were determined the odd men out.

“They’re both very nice kids,” coach Karl Taylor said. “In my evaluations I had other people ahead of them. I was forced to make a decision.”

Traccitto had one assist and a team-low minus-5 rating this season, having appeared in all eight regular-season games. He had signed with the Reign in the summer following a strong 19-year-old season in the Ontario Hockey League.

“We’ve had some injury issues as well. If we were healthy, he probably wouldn’t have (played in every game),” Taylor said. “We probably would have worked him out of the lineup. But with Eric’s injury, and with Pat Bowen’s passport issue and having to put him on 21-day (IR), we haven’t had the opportunity to get him into it. When Jordan (Hill) came, we had to make a move.”

The 22-year-old Popko was scoreless with a minus-2 rating in three regular-season games, after going scoreless with a minus-1 rating in two preseason games.

Taylor said that the former Boston University standout was a “class act, an unbelievable person. … We just felt that other guys have shown more than he has. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good player, it just didn’t work out here.

“We wish them both all the best, they’re good kids.”

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, including reactions from Hill and Pelech.

On the new alternate captains.

Shawn Collymore and Luke Beaverson have both been alternate captains
before, just not at the pro level. That changed Wednesday with the
announcement that each would wear an “A” this season for the Reign.

“It’s something that I wanted,” said Collymore. “That being said, I’m
glad to split the job with the boys. It works out great for me.”

Collymore, 27, was the captain of his junior team, the QMJHL’s Quebec
Remparts, for two seasons. Beaverson went the college route and served
as an alternate his junior year at Alaska-Anchorage before wearing the
“C” as a senior.

“I’ve done it before, so it’s not a stretch by any means,” said Beaverson, 25. “It kind of
comes with being an older guy. We have some younger guys here, but a lot
of them look up to the older guys. They’re still finding their way
around here, so they can look up to the older guys.”

Reign coach Karl Taylor said the voting was overwhelming – 19 of 22 ballots listed David Walker, Jon Francisco or Chad Starling. Walker was named captain, and Francisco and Starling became alternates.

“That’s a good thing,” he said, “but I
didn’t want to have a leadership group based on who’s been here, so I
wanted to include some new players to our team so we have a more
balanced look. We have lots of leaders in the room. I wouldn’t have
forced it on anybody, but based on trying to get new people in, based on
how they played and what they bring.”

Collymore and Beaverson were both approving of Walker’s choice as captain.

“He’s a team player and he steps it up for the boys when in need,” Collymore said. “If
something happens out there, he’s the first guy to come in, make a
sacrifice for the team. It’s a great quality to have as a leader. He’s a
vocal guy as well. He seems to always know what’s going on. He’s on the
ball with everything like that.”

“He’s an excellent leader,” Beaverson added. “He leads by example. He’s vocal. He gets guys going, plays hard and smart, blocks shots and fights.”

Alaska 1, Reign 0.

Scott Howes’ second-period goal, immediately following a defensive-zone giveaway by Chad Starling, was the only goal in the Reign’s sixth straight loss.

Kellen Briggs (24 saves) was great at times, but Alaska’s Gerald Coleman (27 saves) was one better.

Not much else to say about this one – but there will be plenty more in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Forward Michael Pelech and defenseman Jordan Hill were at the game but not in uniform for the Reign and haven’t been added to the roster yet.

Pelech, Hill leaving Manchester.

Michael Pelech is coming back to Ontario and Jordan Hill is poised to join him. Pelech was assigned to the Reign by the Kings and Hill, who signed with the Reign this summer, was released from his pro tryout contract Thursday by the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs.

Pelech, 21, spent all of 2009-10 with the Reign but had been in Manchester to start the new season. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound winger had no points and six penalty minutes in five games for the Monarchs. He’ll add some height and energy to the Reign; most of his 10 goals last season came at the net front, where Pelech tended to make a living screening opposing goaltenders and getting to loose pucks. Pelech also had 25 assists and 133 penalty minutes in 72 games last season. He signed a one-year AHL contract with the Monarchs in August.

Hill, 21, was signed by the Reign as a free agent this summer but latched on in Manchester on a pro tryout contract. The defenseman had no points and two penalty minutes in five AHL games. Under the terms of his contract, Hill was able to stay in Manchester for up to 25 games into the season before he has to sign a new deal and could be released at any time.

Neither Pelech nor Hill is in the lineup tonight against the Alaska Aces.

Dusty Collins’ new number, new mask for Briggs, injury update.

Three notes from today’s morning skate:

1. Dusty Collins will wear number 14 tonight, the same number he wore the last time he donned a Reign uniform. Nobody had the number this season, so it was a good fit all around.

2. Kellen Briggs was wearing a new mask today and has another on the way.

Technically, his mask was an old one, a royal-blue-and-white design with lions that he wore last year as a member of the Dresden Eislöwen (Ice Lions). His old, plain white mask has been sent to a designer to have some color added – Reign colors, to be specific. That’s all Briggs was willing to give away about the design. “It’s a surprise,” he said.

If memory serves, Briggs would become the first goalie in the Reign’s brief history with team-specific colors on his mask.

3. Eric Doyle was back on the ice in a red (non-contact jersey). That’s a good sign of progress for the defenseman, who had a goal and two assists in four games.

Reign name their captain. Updates with Francisco comments.

The Reign have a captain, and for the first time he is not Jon Francisco.

David Walker won the players’ vote on Wednesday to succeed Francisco, who had worn the “C” each of the previous two seasons. The captaincy has re-opened every season under head coach Karl Taylor. Francisco and defenseman Luke Beaverson were named the alternate captains for home games; Shawn Collymore and Chad Starling will be the alternates on the road.
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Catching up with the new guys.

Defenseman Lane Caffaro and goalie Beau Erickson made their Reign debuts in Victoria last week. Both were last-minute acquisitions – Caffaro when defenseman Pat Bowen couldn’t travel to Canada because he didn’t have a passport, and Erickson when Martin Jones was summoned to the American Hockey League.

And both validated their presence in Ontario with a strong debut performance on short notice.
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Dusty Collins returns to Ontario.

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.
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