IceMen Sign Two More Players from Muskegon Club
EVANSVILLE, IN.--- With the excitement of their first-ever training camp as bona fide members of the all-new Central Hockey League "Super League" continuing to build mountains of momentum, the newly-minted Evansville IceMen are moving forward in assembling their official playing roster for the rapidly-approaching 2010-11 pro hockey campaign.
Accordingly, on this date, General Manager / Coach Rich Kromm has announced that he has secured the talented services of two more of his player personnel from his 2009-10 IHL Huber Trophy Championship club. The latest additions to the growing IceMen lineup are swift, sleek center BRIAN BICEK and steady, sturdy defenseman NICK SCHNEIDER. Both players have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with the Evansville club. Adhering to club policy, terms of the respective contract deals were not disclosed.
BICEK, 24, (BYE-seck) is approaching his fourth pro season and his second under the Coach Kromm direction. The diminutive, dynamic swift-skating centerman achieved his best-ever pro campaign last season in emerging as one of the more prominent, pre-eminent sparkplugs in spearheading the Muskegon team to the league's coveted crown of regular season supremacy. The 5-9, 175lb American-bred from the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, IL attained the top 20 in league-wide point production in becoming one of only two Muskegon players to play in all 76-games. He engineered 55-points on 22-goals, 33-assists with 110-PIM and superb +13 rating. His total season output included 2-PPG, 4-PPA, 194-SOG while his uncanny knack of possessing the magic touch in the clutch sealed many key wins for Muskegon and the final fate of the foes as his 6-GWG ranked as fourth most in the league and second best for the Lumberjacks.
The erstwhile standout at Western Michigan U., emerged as a true crowd favorite with his flair for offensive firepower in an electrifying, explosive fashion. Last season, Bicek thrilled his faithful, fond following of fans by delivering both the fastest 2-goals and fastest 3-goals by an individual player last year. Kinetically connecting on 4-multiple goal games in all, "Ice-Bice-Baby" fired a brilliant 3-goal "hat trick" in just 2:37 of the third period on 2/24/10 in his team's 7-3 demolition of rival Flint, then on a later date of 4/3/10, he uncorked a pair of strikes in a mere :34 of the second period in a 5-2 dismissal of Quad City.
Affectionately known as the "Pocket Rocket," Evansville's newest center also adeptly and adroitly authored one 5-point game, two 4-point performances as well as two 4-assists masterpieces. Never to be taken advantage of due to his size and stature, the Bicek repertoire includes flash, dash, and panache sprinkled in with a strong hint of bash. Case in point is his 27-PIM which he served in one game which represented a single season game- high by any Muskegon player last season.
GM/Coach Kromm could not mask his elation with the return of his speedy center for the '10-11 season. "We are extremely happy to have Brian here with us in Evansville. He is a dynamic force and forward with tremendous speed and tenacity. Moreover, he is a very versatile player who has the ability and talent to play many different roles for our club."
Prior to his breakthrough season of 2009-10, Bicek enjoyed an outstanding season in the CHL with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees where he collected 37-points in 57-games on 17-goals, 20-assists and 51-PIM. His 17-goals ranked as fourth most, his 37-points placed him fifth for the "Bees."
Bicek is a four-year product of Western Michigan U., of the CCHA, having actually launched his pro career right off the Kalamazoo-based campus with the ECHL Elmira Jackals in 2007-08. His best season with WMU was in his junior year of 2006-07 when he amassed 26-points in 37-games on 15-goals, 11-assists with 28-PIM.
SCHNEIDER, 25, is set to launch his second pro campaign following a somewhat unexpected but pleasantly surprising premiere last year. The Maplewood, MN blue line bulwark became a mainstay and fixture on the Muskegon defense.
The former standout at the U. of Connecticut was actually discovered by Muskegon while performing his craft in the AAHL with the Battle Creek Revolution. When Muskegon was suddenly beset with injuries to its blue line brigade, Coach Kromm called upon the services of Schneider and the 5-9, 175lb defenseman took full advantage of the opportunity presented him. Remaining with the team for the remainder of the season, Schneider saw action in 40-games, registering 5-points on 1-goal, 4-assists with 10-PIM and supreme rating of +16. Safe to say, that he rose to the status of surprise of the season for the Muskegonites.
Coach Kromm certainly took full notice. "Nick was given the opportunity to come to Muskegon about the midway point of last season. He proved to be a steady, puck-moving defenseman. What we like most about him is that he plays with a lot of intelligence and is a committed, very dedicated athlete."
Prior to his arrival to the IHL with Muskegon, the right-hand shooting rearguard averaged over a point a game in the AAHL with Battle Creek, fashioning 13-points in 11-games on 5-goals, 8-assists with 6-PIM.
During his solid four-year career at UConn, he played in 138-games, recording 27-points on 6-goals, 21-assists with 141-PIM.
Schneider played junior `A' hockey in the NAHL for two seasons where he starred for the Bismarck Bobcats.
Today's signings of center BRIAN BICEK and defenseman NICK SCHNEIDER, bring to 6 the number of players currently under contract for the IceMen debut CHL season in 2010-11. Previously, Evansville announced the signings of goaltender MATT LUNDIN; defenseman JORDAN LITTLE; center DAMIAN SURMA; left wing MARK CODY.
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