RIVERKINGS RE-INK GOALTENDER BEECH TO ROSTER
CHL Goalie of the Year to return to backstop RiverKings in 2009-2010
(Southaven, MS) --- The Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League (CHL) have announced the addition of last year's Goaltender of the Year Kevin Beech to this year's roster. RiverKings Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Kevin "Killer" Kaminski says having Beech re-signed for the upcoming campaign is a major key in the foundation started last year, when the team won the Northeast Division championship and reached the Northern Conference finals in the Ray Miron President's Cup playoffs.
"After a great year and being named Goalie of the Year, we look for Beecher to come in with an abundance of confidence, take charge, and be the best player every night, "Kaminski said. "I really think he's coming into his own and is doing the extra work off the ice to become a better professional."
The native of Brantford, Ontario led the CHL in a number of categories last season, including victories (35), minutes played (3025), and was tied for the league lead in shutouts (3) and shootout wins (4). Beech ended fourth in the CHL in goals-against-average (2.44) and was fifth in the league in saves (1192).
The 6-foot-3, 170 pound Beech was named to the all-CHL team at the end of the season where he posted a 35-12-3 record with a .906 save percentage. His 35 victories is a RiverKings single-season record, placing him fourth among team net minders all-time for victories. Meanwhile, his three shutouts place him in a tie for third all-time among RiverKings' goaltenders. Beech tied Scott Brower and Sebastien Centomo for the team single-season mark in shutouts.
Beech won other awards during last season as the league's Goaltender of the Week on November 9th and January 13th, and as Goaltender of the Month in both January and February.
Despite the accomplishments and accolades last year, Beech says he wants his game to improve. "I'm really happy with the way coach has been putting the team together and it looks like we have a lot of big pieces right now. We have a good enough team to win a championship and that's going to be our only goal this year."
The upcoming season will be Beech's fourth professional season, but also his third go-round under Kaminski, as he played in Youngstown as a member of the SteelHounds during the 2007-08 season. His seven-game stint in Ohio came following a trade from the Laredo Bucks. Kevin was 14-7-1 with four shutouts that between his stops in Youngstown and Laredo.
Beech became a pro with a six-game appearance with Springfield of the American Hockey League after ending his junior career with Ontario Hockey League teams in Sudbury and Erie. He was a sixth-round draft selection (number 165 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Kaminski notes he's depending on Beech being a team leader. "We look for him to be a leader in every aspect of the RiverKings family on and off the ice, Kaminski said. "Beecher is a big part of our foundation we started to build here last year."