Set to Begin United States Hockey League Season This Weekend
Seven players who have previously worn a Waterloo Black Hawks sweater into regular season action could be on the bench this weekend when the team begins the 2015/16 hockey season.
Another half dozen skaters with junior hockey experience, plus a dynamic group of newcomers, will quickly be well-known to Waterloo fans during Head Coach P.K. O’Handley’s 14th year with the club.
“There are familiar names and new names at every position, and that is one of the things which makes the start of the season exciting,” said O’Handley. “For fans, it is great to see faces from last season as well as the excited expressions which come with kids getting their first opportunity to take the ice in this special place.”
As for veteran players, the Black Hawks have a solid foundation in net with 2015 All-USHL 3rd Team goaltender Cale Morris. The Notre Dame recruit won 19 of 28 appearances and pitched four shutouts between his acquisition in January and the end of the 2014/15 schedule. Defenseman Sam Rossini is one of four Hawks back patrolling the team’s blue line and has been highlighted by NHL Central Scouting as a strong candidate for the 2016 National Hockey League Draft. Up front, Ronnie Hein provides experience after scoring 11 goals (including three game-winners) during 33 appearances.
Two other veteran forwards – Niko Hildenbrand and Liam Pecararo – wait in the wings while starting the season on injured reserve.
However, there is no lack of experience in the forward corps. Latvian native Georgs Golovkovs comes to the United States following two seasons with Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Brandon Schultz ranked second offensively for the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League in 2014/15. Hunter Luhmann was a regular in the lineup for the Madison Capitols last year, and Ryley Risling played against USHL’ers while representing Canada West during the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.
During the offseason, the Hawks also added former Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Michael Davies. A preseason trade earlier this week brought Wisconsin recruit Tony Stillwell and future USHL Draft considerations from the Capitols in exchange for Phil Beaulieu and Tyson McLellan.
An intriguing group of junior hockey rookies may prove to be the most exciting component of Waterloo’s 2015/16 roster. Netminder Dayton Rasmussen is committed to the University of Denver. Defenseman and tender-signee Mikey Anderson is already a Minnesota-Duluth recruit and follows his older brother, Joey (U.S. National Team Development Program), to the league. Forward David Cotton was a 2015 draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, while University of Minnesota prospect Garrett Wait and Nova Scotia scoring sensation Shane Bowers are highly regarded candidates for the 2016 and 2017 NHL Drafts respectively.
The opening faceoff of the 2015/16 season will be Friday on the road against the Bloomington Thunder. The Hawks are on home ice for the first time Saturday versus the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 7:05 p.m., presented by Texas Roadhouse. The first 2,000 people in attendance will claim a Black Hawks magnetic schedule, sponsored by La Porte City Bakery and 1650, The Fan. For tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680, or visit waterlooblackhawks.com.
|4||Michael Davies||D||5-8||160||Jan 26, 1997||Kirkwood, MO|
|9||Sam Rossini||D||6-2||195||Jun 19, 1998||Inver Grove Heights, MN|
|13||Nick Swaney||F||5-10||165||Sep 09, 1997||Lakeville, MN|
|15||Shane Bowers||F||6-1||170||Jul 30, 1999||Halifax, NS|
|16||Ryley Risling||F||6-2||194||May 09, 1996||Medicine Hat, AB|
|17||Garrett Wait||F||5-11||180||Jun 13, 1998||Edina, MN|
|18||Alex Robert||D||6-0||185||Jan 08, 1995||Novi, MI|
|19||Niko Hildenbrand||F||5-10||191||Aug 18, 1995||Vacaville, CA|
|24||Mikey Anderson||D||5-11||200||May 25, 1999||Roseville, MN|
|25||Georgs Golovkovs||F||6-0||180||Jul 11, 1995||Riga LAT|
|26||Cameron Orchard||F||6-1||192||Jun 27, 1998||Dorr, MI|
|27||Matt Stief||D||5-8||170||Jan 13, 1996||Boca Raton, FL|
|28||Kevin Charyszyn||F||5-10||175||Jul 11, 1996||Jamison, PA|
|29||Collin Saccoman||D||6-1||195||Mar 05, 1997||Stillwater, MN|
|31||Dayton Rasmussen||G||6-2||190||Nov 04, 1998||Eden Prairie, MN|
|33||Cale Morris||G||6-1||190||May 22, 1996||Larkspur, CO|
|39||Liam Pecararo||F||5-11||165||Apr 06, 1996||Canton, MA|
|40||Ronnie Hein||F||6-0||175||Jan 22, 1997||Chelsea, MI|
|46||Ben Newhouse||D||5-8||175||Jun 16, 1997||Edina, MN|
|47||Hunter Luhmann||F||5-11||180||May 02, 1997||White River Junction, VT|
|51||Brandon Schultz||F||5-8||155||Jun 15, 1996||Estero, FL|
|77||Mason Anderson||D||6-2||160||Feb 23, 1995||Anchorage, AK|
|88||Yuri Terao||F||5-8||175||Apr 29, 1995||Tochigi, JPN|
|89||Tony Stillwell||D||5-8||161||Apr 18, 1997||Green Bay, WI|
|92||David Cotton||F||6-2||200||Jul 09, 1997||Parker, TX|