Monday, August 08, 2011

Port Huron camp roster has local flavor

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons today announced the training camp roster as they continue to prepare for their second season of competition in the North American Hockey League.

The roster is split evenly with 13 players returning from last season and 13 new additions.

Head coach and general manager Bill Warren continued his focus on local talent with 19 Michigan natives making it to training camp, many of whom hail from the Blue Water Area.

“We’re going to bring a much higher level of play to the ice this season with the roster we’ve put together,” said Warren, who coached Port Huron to a 5-20-5 record after taking over as head coach last January. The team was just 1-26-1 before Warren became head coach.

“This is a team that is going to score some goals and compete for a playoff spot in the North Division,” Warren added. “This team will bring energy and excitement to McMorran Arena, and we will have players that will make an impact well beyond what they do on the ice.”

Warren’s ties to the Honeybaked midget major team led to six of the state-champion U-18 players heading to Port Huron this season, including goalie Max Milosek. Marysville’s Brett D’Andrea, who also played for Honeybaked last year, joins the Fighting Falcons after already committing to play his college hockey at Bowling Green State University.

Draft picks Easton Powers, Kody Polin, Ryan Murray and Port Huron’s Alex Archibald will all suit up for training camp. Other drafted players, including Ronald Kotkin, a Russian forward strongly recommended by former Red Wing and hockey hall of famer Igor Larionov, may play for the team later in the year.

The Fighting Falcons hold the exclusive NAHL rights to each player they selected in May’s draft, though some may begin the season with tier 1 teams in the United States Hockey League.

Port Huron’s leading scorer Adam Frank (5 goals, 25 assists) returns for a second season in Port Huron after being the only player to appear in all 58 games for the Fighting Falcons last season.

Defenseman Sean Gammage will also return after playing 54 games in a Fighting Falcons sweater last season, while 2010-11 assistant captain Ryan Teal will once again join Gammage on the blue line.

Ten skaters with 1991 birth years will play the final year of their junior careers in Port Huron, including goalie Peter Megariotis, who earned the first shutout in Fighting Falcons history last season against the Chicago Hitmen.

Logan Lemirande caught the eye of many college scouts at Port Huron’s tryout camp, and will return to Port Huron for his final junior season.

Nico Sierra, who impressed many fans last season with his speed and puck handling, is one of ten players on the training camp roster born in 1992.

The Fighting Falcons will work to develop more 17 and 18-year-old players than last year, with Marysville’s Nick Horne one of four players on the training camp roster born in 1993 and Archibald and D’Andrea the youngest with 1994 birth years.

Players will report to Port Huron this Sunday to meet the team’s full coaching staff. Some players will see McMorran Arena and its professional-grade locker room for the first time during that meeting.

Training camp will begin Monday, August 15 with a week of rigorous off-ice training before hitting the ice for practices the following week.

Many Blue Water Area families have selflessly offered to invite Fighting Falcons players into their homes for the season. Over 20 players will meet their host families and step inside their home away from home for the first time after Sunday’s meeting.

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