Rockford signs top young prospects Big Snake, Gens
Rockford, Ill.- Rockford IceHogs Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Steve Martinson announced Wednesday that the United Hockey League club has signed rookie forward Robin Big Snake and rookie defenseman Matt Gens for the fast approaching 2005-06 season. Adhering to club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Big Snake will make his professional debut with Rockford after a break out season last year at the junior level. The 6'1", 215lb power forward racked up 20g-15a-35pts and 160 penalty minutes in 48 games with the Owen Sound Attack.
The tough winger will get a jump start on his rookie season, as he has earned an invite to participate in Detroit Red Wings (NHL) training camp prior to coming to Rockford. Big Snake attended Hartford Wolf Pack training camp where he opened eyes with a punch-fest with noted tough guy Trevor Gillies, prior to last season. The Wolf Pack are the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers.
"I expect these two players to be immediate impact players for us," said Martinson. Robin's an excellent prospect that possesses a combination of toughness and scoring ability. He's a very physical player who will dish out big body checks, we expect him to quickly become a fan favorite at the MetroCentre."
The Siksika Nation, Alberta native made a name for himself in the Western Hockey League as a tough winger. In just over three season in the WHL, Big Snake accumulated 552 PIM's. Big Snake, who is Cree and Blackfoot, skated for the Vancouver Giants (WHL) and Moose Jaw Warriors during his first two seasons in juniors.
In 2003-04, Big Snake joined the Portland Winter Hawks, and his offense came to life while becoming a fan favorite in Portland. The 21-year old winger registered 12g-12a-24pts with the Winter Hawks while accumulating 230 PIM's in 54 games. After two games in Portland last season, Big Snake signed on with the Attack.
Rockford also inked Gens on Wednesday, one of St. Cloud States (NCAA) leading point scorers from the defense during the past four seasons. Gens signing also makes him the third Minnesota skater, which is the closest hockey hotbed, to sign with Rockford for the 05-06 campaign.
"Matt is a top young defenseman and I'm expecting him to step right in and become one of the top offensive defenseman in the league," said Martinson. "With the elimination of the red-line, these defenseman who can move the puck will benefit."
During his four years with the Huskies, Gens ranked in the top three in scoring for blue-liners in three of his four seasons. During his senior campaign, the Baudette, Minnesota native netted 3g-14a-17pts. His top season statistically was his freshman year, when Gens scored 6g-17a-23pts. Gens was also drafted by The Vancouver Canucks (NHL) in 2002.
With Big Snake and Gens, Rockford has 10 players signed for the upcoming 2005-06 season. Also on the roster includes forwards Preston Mizzi, Jason Notermann, Bruce Watson and Chad Woollard and defensemen Ryan Carrigan, Corey Hessler, Nathan Lutz and Steve Pelletier.
Season Tickets Now On Sale: Season tickets for the 2005-06 season are now on sale at the IceHogs corporate office or by calling (815) 986-6465. Ticket packages begin at just $95. A seat deposit of only $100 is required to reserve your full or partial season ticket. Great seats are available, so don't miss out on the hottest ticket in town!
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