Hockey Notebook: Jacksonville Inks First Goaltender; Around the ECHL

By: Mike Bonts, Florida Sports Wire
Vernon Signed by Jacksonville (ECHL)
Vernon Signed by Jacksonville (ECHL)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - July 31, 2023 - PRLog -- (http:/ - The Jacksonville Icemen have agreed to terms with goaltender Matt Vernon. Earlier this month the Icemen agreed to terms with defensemen Connor Russell and Victor Hadfield.

Vernon, 25, began his professional career this past spring with the Reading Royals (ECHL). The 5-11, 175-pound netminder went 0-1-1 with a 2.40 goals-against average and a 0.904 save percentage in his two outings with the Royals.

Vernon is the son of NHL goaltender Mike Vernon who won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989 and with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, while also being named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player of the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Russell, 27, returns to the Icemen where he logged an assist in 16 games last season. In addition, Russell also made eight appearances with the South Carolina Stingrays.

Hadfield, 22, returns for a third season in Jacksonville after posting 14 points (7g, 7a) in 44 appearances split between playing defense and forward. Hadfield is the grandson of former NHL standout Vic Hadfield, who amassed 712 career points in 1002 NHL games split between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Around the ECHL

The Greenville Swamp Rabbits have re-signed defenseman LA Grissom for the 2023-24 season. Grissom, 27, returns to the Swamp Rabbits for a second season. The club also signed forward Jake Smith. Smith, 26, joins the Swamp Rabbits after spending a majority of the 2022-23 season with the Florida Everblades.

The Atlanta Gladiators have acquired forward Mitchell Fossier from the Maine Mariners in exchange for the rights to forward Gabe Guertler. Fossier, 26, played 47 games with the Mariners this past year, posting 57 points (21g-36a) during the regular season, while also amassing six points (3g-3a) in six Kelly Cup Playoff games. The club also signed forwards Ryan Cranford and Evan Dougherty.

The Orlando Solar Bears agreed to terms with forward Patrick Newell. Newell, 27, enters his sixth professional season and first in the ECHL. The Thousand Oaks, California native has previously appeared in 87 games over three American Hockey League (AHL) seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack from 2019-2021, scoring 27 points (11g-16a). Forward Chris Harpur also agreed to terms.

The South Carolina Stingrays have agreed to terms with forward Patrick Harper. Harper, 24, returns to the United States after having played 70 games in Europe over the past two seasons. The New York City native most recently played for Kristianstads IK in HockeyAllsvenskan, the second-highest league in the Swedish ice hockey system.  The Stingrays also re-signed forward Jackson Leppard and defenseman Chase Stewart.

(SportsDay's Mike Bonts covers the NHL and ECHL for the Florida Sports Wire.)

Mike Bonts, Florida Sports Wire
Source:Mike Bonts, Florida Sports Wire
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