AMARILLO, TX – It’s been a busy time for the Amarillo Bulls Coaching and Scouting Staff over the past seven days prior to the North American Hockey League Draft that takes place tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1 pm central.
The Bulls held a second Pre-Draft Camp that took place in Omaha, Nebraska over the weekend with more than 60 players taking part. The team also finalized its Tenders by adding three more, including one via a trade. That brings the total of tendered players to 11 for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
“We are extremely excited to have finalized our last three tendered spots,” said Head Coach Jon Rogger. “We feel that we secured some holes that needed to be addressed heading into Tuesday’s draft. “
The first news was that forward Elijiah Barriga was traded from the Bulls to Springfield Jr. Blues for a Tender. In 54 games with the Bulls, the West Covina, California native notched eight goals and added 11 assists for 19 points.
“Elijiah was a great player and person both on and off the ice,” he said. “He has the potential to do well in this league. We felt that we needed to make this move to secure a top defenseman for us as we have tendered several forwards that will his void.”
The Bulls used the Tender to add defenseman Chuck Bennis to the roster for the upcoming season. Bennis, a big left shooting defenseman from the Fargo Force of the USHL by way of Eau Claire, Wisconsin had two goals and five assists for 7 points in 46 games. He also had 136 penalty minutes.
“This is the player I'm most excited about getting, as we just got this done in the last 24 hours,” said Bulls Director of Scouting Erik Blasé. “He's a big, physical and mean defender. We expect him to be our leader on the blue line and play a ton of minutes for us. Chuck was easily the toughest kid in the USHL because nobody would fight him. He has a heavy shot and makes a good first pass.”
The Bulls have also tendered forward Austen Long from the Omaha AAA Under 16 program. Long a 5-11, 175 right winger from Blaine Minnesota already has his NCAA College Commitment secured for Colorado College in 2016-17. In 21 games with the Under-16 program that played in the North American Prospects Hockey League and the High Performance Hockey League, Long had eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points. Long also played two games for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL where he notched a goal and had 14 penalty minutes.
“Long is your prototypical power forward who has great speed, shoots well and is always around the puck,” said Blasé. “He was easily our best player in the knockout rounds at USAH Nationals this year. I think he will easily step in and play a top 9 role for the Bulls next season.”
With their third Tender the Bulls have added another Swede to the fold with Johan Lundgren who is friends with goaltender Anton Martinsson. The 6’0, 190 Center, who played with the Rogle J20 team, will provide more size and skill up the middle.
“Johan can distribute the puck as well as score, and we look for him to center one of our top 2 lines,” said Blasé. “He’s a very physical, two-way hockey player that will log a lot of minutes for the team.”
Chuck Bennis, Austen Long and Johan Lundgren join Nick Cardelli, Alex Rowe, Jarett Mari, Bobby Kaiser, Charlie Singerhouse, Matt Nehls, Brycon Johnson, and Patrick Choi as tendered players for the 2015-16 season.
There are just four days left in the Amarillo Bulls 30 Days Of Hockey Draw. Fans can participate by purchasing or renewing Full or Half Season Ticket or buying a 10-Game Flex Pack. Season tickets including the playoffs begin at $339 for Silver; $445 for Red; $515 for Glass; $589 for Pit; and children 12 and Under are $250. There are many great benefits to being a Season Ticket holder including guaranteed same seat, redeem unused tickets, invitation to Season Ticket Pick-Up Party as well as other exclusive events.
For further information, or to inquire about available locations, call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.