The Columbus Cottonmouths have signed their first newcomers for the 2010-11 season, welcoming forward Matt Kinnunen and defenseman Nicholas Kuqali for their professional hockey debuts.
Kinnunen comes to the Snakes after three seasons (2007-10) with the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he played alongside 2009-10 Snakes center Levi Lind for two seasons. A center from Calgary, Alberta, Kinnunen collected 108 points and 249 penalty minutes in 159 games.
Kuqali hails from Pittsburgh, PA, and joins the Cottonmouths after four seasons with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The 6-foot-3 defenseman registered 18 points in 104 games.
“Kinnunen is a well-rounded player,” head coach Jerome Bechard said. “He’s got pretty good hands and can put the puck in the net, but also plays with an edge. I look forward to him bringing the in-your-face attitude we’re looking to create with this team. Kuqali is a player I compare to Tommy Upton, who came in at the end of last year. Nicholas is a big defenseman who can be physical and move the puck. He can do a little bit of everything, and anticipate him helping in all aspects of the game.”
The Cottonmouths list of training camp signees for the 2010-11 season is now at eight, including forwards Sam Bowles, Jesse Cole, Orrin Hergott and Kinnunen, defensemen Will Barlow, Kuqali and Kyle Lundale and goaltender Ian Vigier.
Training camp is set to open Saturday, Oct. 9, with the Snakes opening the regular season at home against the Pensacola Ice Flyers Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Season tickets are on sale now, starting at just $88. Individual tickets go on sale to the public Monday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.
For more information, contact the Cottonmouths office at 706 571 0086.