AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls have wrapped up their season and turn their attention now to the 2018-2019 season. Head Coach Rocky Russo and his staff bring back a veteran roster, but like every year, they have holes to fill. Today Amarillo announced the addition of 10 new players who will being suiting up for the Bulls next season.
Back in November of 2017, the team announced their first tender for the 2018-2019 season with the addition of Forward Cooper Fensterstock. The North Carolina native spent most last season with the North Jersey Avalanche, but some fans may remember the name, as he spent two games with the Bulls this season.
“Cooper is a dynamic forward that can play center or wing. He has excellent vision, plays a hard, physical game and is defensively responsible. We expect Cooper to make an immediate impact on our team next season and draw significant attention from NCAA Division 1 programs right away.”
Joining the Bulls next season from the land of Great Lakes is Ryan Lautenbach. The 5’10” 170-pound Right Wing played in 19 games for the Detroit Compuware 18U team, contributing eight goals and eight assists.
“Ryan is a hardnosed 200-foot player. His compete level and skill set will help him make an immediate impact in Amarillo,” Russo said. “He is an extremely intelligent player that has had tremendous success at the youth level, winning the 2016 16U National Championship with Compuware.”
Another addition to the offensive side of things will be Right Wing Jordan Venegoni. The 6-footer spent part of last season with the Bulls but ultimately went home to finish his high school career at Livonia Churchill High School. He appeared in 17 combined contests and was an offensive force scoring 12 goals and adding 13 assists for a grand total of 25 points. Coach Russo is excited to have Venegoni rejoin the team again next season.
“Jordan made our team last season and eventually went back home to finish his senior year of HS. He is a strong power forward that can create offense, play physical and impact the game in all 3 zones. He will have a great advantage as he has already been through training camp and learned our systems this past season.”
Also joining the Bulls next season will be Gerard Marrettan a 5’10” 180-pound center who spent time with both Tilton Prep and the Neponset River Rats 18U. He appeared in 53 games, tallying 47 total points by way of 22 goals and 25 assists. Coach Russo says Marrettan is an instinctive player that could make an immediate impact next year.
“Gerard is a very smart two-way player. He is creative offensively, sees the ice well, and makes good decisions with the puck. He is defensively responsible and can play both center and wing. He has already generated interest from NCAA Division 1 programs and will be a tremendous addition to our team.”
Joining the Bulls in 2018 will be Swedish Left Shot Winger David Ojamae. Size and speed are two things the Swede brings with him to Amarillo, as well as, much needed experience from competing in the Brynas IF J20 Swedish SuperElite League. Ojamae played in 42 games, scoring eight goals and assisting on seven more and looks to bring versatility to the roster.
“David is a speedy winger with an extremely high compete level. He is creative offensively as well as very responsible in the defensive zone. He is a very intelligent hockey player that sees the ice well and makes his teammates around him better.”
Center Aaron Swanson will be re-joining the Bulls next season. After splitting time between the North Iowa Bulls and Amarillo Bulls last year, Swanson looks to make a home of sorts in the Yellow City. Swanson saw action in 22 games for Amarillo and played in 27 games combined. In his time on the ice he was able to rack up 10 points, including four goals and six assists.
“Aaron spent the first part of the season with us in Amarillo before being sent to our affiliate team in North Iowa. He is a skilled centerman that competes very hard and makes good plays in all 3 zones. We are very confident that the experience he received both with us and North Iowa this past season will serve him well as he returns to Amarillo next season.”
6’3” Right Wing Carson Porkka joins Amarillo next year. Porkka spent last season with the Valley Forge Minutemen where he scored 16 goals and added 13 assists in 33 games.
“Carson is a power forward with a tremendous work ethic. He is a good skater that plays a very physical brand of hockey that will be welcomed by the fans in Amarillo. He has good offensive upside and a nose for the net that will help him generate points next season and in the future.”
The Bulls didn’t forget about the defensive side of the ice as they tendered three young men who have proven success at prior levels of the game.
We begin with Gagik Malakyan, a 6’3” 220-pound defenseman who spend a majority of last season with the Dallas Stars Elite 18U team. Malakyan, who also made three appearances with Amarillo, played in 34 total contests. He scored one goal and assisted on eight others. Coach Russo is happy to see the big defenseman return to Amarillo next season.
“Gagik is a big strong defenseman that skates very well. He is physical, and difficult to play against in the defensive zone, while also bringing an element of offense to his game. He gets his shot though to the net and makes hard flat passes all over the ice. We expect him to be a big part of our defensive core next season and beyond.”
Alex Murray will be another name to be on the lookout for next season. In 61 games for Selects Academy 18U, Murray scored three goals and notched 22 assists and could be a big factor in the Bulls penalty kill next season.
“Alex is a tremendous skating defenseman that is tough to play against all over the ice. He competes hard for pucks, wins his one on one battles and skates his way out of trouble. He has big time offensive upside and the ability to make plays in small spaces and under pressure. He also has a winning pedigree as he was a part of the 2018 18U National Championship team for Selects.”
Rounding out the first wave of tenders for the 2018-2019 season is Blake Rossi. The defenseman spent last season with Esmark Stars 18U squad where his presence was not only felt on the defensive side of the puck, but offensively as well. Rossi scored 19 goals in 57 games for the Stars while racking up 18 assists.
“Blake is a smooth skating defenseman with a bomb of a shot from the point. He makes good decisions with the puck, defends well and jumps into the offense at the right time,” said Coach Russo. “As he continues to grow he will become a force in all 3 zones and a big-time impact player for the Bulls.”
These 10 players will report to camp next fall as the Bulls look to make it back to the post-season in the second year under Head Coach Rocky Russo. Season tickets for the 2018-2019 season are on sale now. Click here or stop by the Bulls office at 301 S Polk Street for more information.