On Friday November 27th, the Jacksonville Icemen announced the signing of American centreman Mike Szmatula. The two sides agreed to terms on a standard player contract for the upcoming season.
For Mike, it’s first with the Icemen and his third in the ECHL. During the 2019-20 season, Szmatula played 56 games, scoring 49 points with the Adirondack Thunder. Throughout his career with the hockey club, the forward has scored 47 goals along with 52 assists which made for 99 points. Doing so in 122 games, he also added on 42 penalty minutes.
In 2018-19, he saw a pair of brief call-ups to the Stockton Heat and the Utica Comets. Prior to making the jump pro, the left-handed shooter spent four seasons playing with the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Northeastern Huskies. Throughout his collegiate hockey career, the 28-year-old amassed 108 points.
Prior to his tenure at college, the Michigan native spent one season playing with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL. In 2013, he won a Clark Cup Championship and was also named as playoff MVP.
Szmatula joins fellow forwards Abbott Girduckis, Adam Dauda, Ara Nazarian, Brendan Warren and Cameron Critchlow. With them are Derek Lodermeier, Eric Neiley, Ian McKinnon, Wacey Rabbit, Nathan Perkovich, Craig Martin and Matt Marquardt. They are joined by defensemen Dalton Thrower, Jacob Cederholm, Jarod Hilderman, Kevin McKernan and Luke Shiplo. This also includes Jacob Panetta.
The Icemen are one of the 13 teams who will return to the ice on December 11th. An estimated five more teams will join the season in January after clearance from the government. As a result of the novel coronavirus, eight teams have opted out of play for the season. Jacksonville is hoping to start the season with limited capacity seating, adhering to all Florida guidelines.