Reign make final cuts, set opening-day roster

Forwards Joel Irving, Tyler Mugford and Doug Spooner, and defenseman Cameron Cepek, became the Reign’s final training camp cuts Wednesday when the opening-day roster was submitted to the ECHL

Forwards Tony Voce (7-day), Todd Jackson (21-day) and Robert Pearce (21-day), and defenseman Dan Knapp (3-day), will begin the season on injured reserve.
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Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.

As with any sport, the value of an ECHL preseason game lies less in getting a win as much as assessing the team’s talent, deciding who to keep and who to cut.

“We’ll try to get everybody in and if not, oh well. That’s life,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said.

In a way, this is an even more delicate exercise in the ECHL, with so much turnover from year to year (although the Reign have a particularly high retention rate — 12 of the 30 players who appeared in a game last season are back). But for more than half of his 27 players, Karl Taylor has no frame of reference for how they’ll execute for him in a game. On the other hand, there can be as much turnover during the ECHL season as the off-season because of AHL recalls, injuries, trades, and the occasional roster cut. Maybe none of the players on tonight’s roster will make it through to the end of the season in Ontario.

That said, here they are:
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Reign: Taylor on the defense.

Karl Taylor has never brought back as many as five players on one defense from one year to the next as an ECHL coach. “Hopefully they’re the five good ones,” he joked.

Back are Shawn Germain, Dan Knapp, David Walker, Chad Starling and Andrew Martens. Gone are Darren McMillan (IHL), P.J. Atherton (Europe) and Colten Teubert (WHL). In their place are newcomers Cameron Cepek, Brian Kilburg and Mike Egener. Their average height: 6-foot-3. Though it’s possible that one or two would get cut before the regular-season opener, Taylor said he’s open to keeping all eight on the roster.

He explains why, and describes what he sees in the group as a whole …
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