Scorpions round out camp roster with five players
[RIO RANCHO, N.M.]- The New Mexico Scorpions, proud member of the Central Hockey League (CHL), have signed five more players to round out the training camp roster. Head Coach Ray Edwards has inked defenseman John Donnelly, forwards Ryan Gale, Craig Macdonald and Jake Brenk and goaltender Walter Bartholomaus.
Donnelly brings in the most experience from the latest group of players. Last season the 6"4", 220-pounder played in the United Hockey League (UHL) with Port Huron and Elmira. In 74 games he collected 20 points (1G, 19A) and amassed 102 penalty minutes. The St. Norbert College graduate is expected to add size, strength and experience to the Scorpions' blue line.
"John is a big guy who can skate well," said Edwards. "He will add additional experience to the defensive group put together."
Gale, entering his second professional season, comes to the Scorpions after splitting time with Toledo, Alaska and Columbia in the ECHL last season. The Niagara University native had a great senior season posting 38 points (24G, 14A) in 36 games. The Scorpions hope by giving the St. Catharines, Ont. native a chance he can return to that scoring punch after a tough rookie season that only saw him score four goals in 54 games.
"We think Ryan can produce like he did in college two seasons ago," said Edwards. "After a tough rookie year we hope he comes in and gains some confidence early on."
The Scorpions will look to MacDonald to add grit and toughness up front. After spending four years at Elmira College, he played last season with the Elmira Jackals of the UHL. In 70 games the 6 footer registered 209 penalty minutes. Though he showed his prowess to mix it up last season, in college he showed a scoring touch as well with 93 points in 92 games.
"Craig is an all-around type of player," said Edwards. "He has showed he can play tough but also had some great college numbers offensively."
Rounding out the front line will be Brenk, the Edmonton Oilers fifth round pick in 2001. Last season the Detroit Lakes, Minn. native traveled overseas to play in the Dutch League, Eredivisie. In 20 regular season games he notched 30 points (19G, 11A) and 75 penalty minutes. In the playoffs he added 17 points (5G, 12A) in 14 games.
"Jake had a great year overseas and we hope he can translate that into another great year for the Scorpions," said Edwards. "He played a bit in the ECHL and UHL but never really got the chance to show his skills; we will give him the chance to do that here."
Every championship team needs great goaltending and the Scorpions continue to sign high quality goalies. With Scott Reid expected to spend time with the Scorpions' American Hockey League affiliate Milwaukee, Bartholomaus will be looked upon to be a top goaltender. Over the last three seasons, the Austrian spent time in his homeland playing in the Elite League and previously played for Team Austria in the World Junior Championships. Two of the past three seasons, Bartholomaus posted a goals against average below 2.90 and save percentages over .915.
"We are really excited to see Walter play. He comes highly recommended by (Scorpions' President) Dave Ellett's former agent," said Edwards. "We really feel he has the potential to be one of the CHL's top goaltenders because he is used to playing against AHL caliber talent in Europe."
TRAINING CAMP NOTE: The Scorpions will start training camp Monday, Oct. 9 at Blades. The players will be on the ice at 10:30 AM. The public is welcome to watch the Scorpions at Blades. Edwards plans to skate his players about two hours on Monday.
Training camp moves to the Scorpions' new home, the Santa Ana Star Center, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 10. Unfortunately with parts of the building still under construction, training camp and the October practices will be closed to the public.
"It is unfortunate our great fans will not be able to see training camp this year," said Scorpions' General Manager Rick Carden. "We are looking forward to seeing all our fans fill the Santa Ana Star Center on opening night. The entire organization is really excited for Saturday, Oct. 27."
The Scorpions will christen the new state-of-the-art Santa Ana Star Center on Friday, October 27, when they face the Arizona Sundogs at 7:35 p.m. This season the Scorpions feature 22 weekend home games. The schedule can also be viewed and printed by visiting www.scorpionshockey.com/schedule.
Season tickets and corporate partnership information is now available for the New Mexico Scorpions inaugural season in the Santa Ana Star Center. Make sure to reserve your seats now to be a part of all the exciting action. Reserve your season tickets for as low as $320. Monthly plans are also available to fit any budget by calling the Scorpions office at (505) 881-PUCK  or by visiting www.scorpionshockey.com.
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