As I previously reported, both Marc-Andre Carre and Travis Eggum signed professional contracts to play in Texas with the Rio Grande Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League.
If you're an SJHL reader, you likely know Carre and Eggum fairly well, but not the CHL. If you're a reader in Rio Grande trying to read up on the new players your team acquired, I'll take care of that too.
I'll start with the Central Hockey League and the Killer Bees. The CHL (obviously not to be confused with the Canadian Hockey League) completed it's 19th season in 2011.
In the 2010-11 season, the CHL featured 18 teams playing in a 66 game schedule. Sixteen of the eighteen teams qualified for the playoffs which sets up two rounds of best-of-five series and two rounds of best-of-seven series to raise the Ray Miron President's Cup.
The Killer Bees are headed into the franchise's ninth season in 2011-12 with a new head coach. Terry Ruskowski took over as the Head Coach and GM of the Bees this off season. He started his coaching career in Saskatchewan with the Blades in the 1989-'90.
The Bees look to do something in the new season that they haven't in franchise history, reach the third round of the playoffs. Last season was a tough one for Rio Grande as they finished with a record of 25-35-3-3 for 56 points. Carre and Eggum bring some much needed offence to a team that finished tied for last in the Berry division in goals for.
Check out this video on the Rio Grande Valley.
I'll have to get Marc and Travis to let me know if there's a media job open down there. Looks pretty nice.
Moving on to Carre and Eggum, they formed two parts of the most dynamic line in recent memory in the SJHL. Along with linemate, Doug Lindensmith, the 'Big Three' (as they became known) combined for a ridiculous 310 points (Carre-106, Eggum-106, Lindensmith-98) in the 2010-11 campaign.
Carre (39-67-106) earned two SJHL Player of the Week awards to go along with his League MVP status at the end of the year. Carre set an Ice Wolves franchise record with 67 assists and led the SJHL in points per game (1.93). M-A-C has elite vision on the ice, and was a major reason Lindensmith and Eggum found many of their goals ending up in wide open nets. His speed and puck handling skills that produced a full reel of highlight goals during the season combined with his size give him the physical tools to continue to move up in the professional ranks. Skill-wise, Carre was regarded as the best player in the SJHL last season, when he plays with a nasty edge, he's nearly unstoppable.
Eggum (58-48-106) was named the player of the week three times and player of the month twice en route to winning the SJHL's Top Scorer Award (by virtue of more goals than Carre) and the SJHL Top Player Award. Eggum rolled by the Wolves franchise record with his 58 goals. He was the first player since 1992 to put up a 50 goal season and the first in 20 years to average a goal per game while crossing the 50 goal plateau. Eggum doesn't display the fleet footedness and finesse that his linemate features, but he makes up for it in sheer grit and determination. What makes Eggum a high level scorer is his keen awareness of where to be on the ice and find the open spot. He dives into the dirty areas and will do anything to get the puck over the line. Oh yeah, and then there's his shot. He gave goalies fits and forced many a defenceman off the ice to work feeling back into their legs after blocking a shot.
Carre and Eggum have fantastic chemistry together on and off the ice. They proved it late in the season and in the playoffs when Doug Lindensmith was forced off the ice with injury trouble. No matter who they've been matched with the line has produced. Watching Ice Wolves practices and skates, these are two guys that genuinely love playing the game of hockey and being matched together. While it will be an adjustment for these two stepping into the pro ranks, doing it on the same team and likely the same line, will make them a force to be reckoned with in the CHL.
Bees fans, you've got a couple of very good players coming your way.
Marc and Travis, congratulations to both of you!
Sources for CHL Info: CentralHockeyLeague.com