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Lesperance, Mbaraga Back with Jackalopes

September 21, 2010 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Odessa Jackalopes News Release

ODESSA, TX - The Odessa Jackalopes announced today that forward Mike Lesperance and defenseman Patrick Mbaraga will both return to the team for the upcoming 2010-11 Central Hockey League season. The signing of the two players brings Odessa's training camp roster to 17 players with camp just over a week away from starting.

Lesperance (les-per-AHNS) returns for his third season with the Jackalopes after scoring 68 points in 119 games during the first two years with the club. In his 2008-09 rookie campaign, the 6'1", 195-pound forward brought 14 goals and 24 assists for the team. After nine goals and 21 assists last season, Lesperance's playoff production increased when he added a pair of goals and a pair of assists in 13 postseason games.

"My first two seasons in pro hockey have both been with Odessa and both have been great experiences," said Lesperance. "A lot of guys from those teams are coming back to try and make a run, and I want to join them in that effort."

"(Lesperance) has been a versatile player for us the last couple years," added head coach Paul Gillis. "He's played multiple positions and multiple situations for us and has contributed each time."

Last season was Mbaraga's (em-bar-AH-guh) first in an Odessa uniform as the defensive specialist appeared in 57 games while putting up a +10 rating. He also chipped in a goal and three assists for four points on the year. His lone goal of last season came on January 20th in a 4-2 win at Arizona.

"Patrick is a physical defenseman who makes protecting our zone a priority and does it well," said Gillis. "He's great at slowing the opponent down in the corners, he worked our penalty kill well last season, and he's a good teammate."

The Odessa Jackalopes are the Central Hockey League affiliate for the NHL's New York Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team will begin its 14th season in the Permian Basin in October 2010. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-PUCK or visiting jackalopes.org.

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