By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Cornwall River Kings fans will be cheering some familiar names this season as GM Mitch Gagne signed a pair of popular veterans and a few newcomers this week.
The Ligue Nord-Americane de Hockey's River Kings released a statement today via social media announcing that their roster is slowly coming together, and young talent is a major focus.
“These players bring new blood to the team and help with our budget,” said Gagne on the River Kings Facebook page. “With these important moves, we will be able to afford our top veterans for the upcoming season.”
The River Kings inked speedy forward Jean-Philippe Caron, 22, sparkplug Anthony Pittarelli, newcomers Pete Karvouniaris – a former Cornwall Colts all-star netminder – as well as Guillaume Rousseau, brothers Olivier and Guillaume Donovan and Jacob Dawson.
“J.P. was a key guy we wanted to deal with right away. He is full of energy and has the ability to put up great numbers in his second year,” he said. “Pittarelli coming back will add the grit and speed we are focusing on for this upcoming season."
In 2010-11, Karvouniaris set a CCHL single-season record with 40 wins. That season, he also posted a 2.18 goals against average and an incredible .933 save percentage. Karvouniaris, who went on to play at Concordia University, suited up overseas in France last year.
“He was a guy I looked at last year but he was already committed to playing in France,” said Gagne. “But this year he is staying in Montreal and with his great numbers he could challenge for some time in the blue paint.”
Rousseau, 23, was acquired from Thetford-Mines for a 9th round pick at last month’s draft. After a four-year junior career in the QMJHL, the six-foot one-inch, 210 pound defenceman has spent parts of the last two seasons with the Isothermic.
The Donovan brothers are from Gatineau. Olivier, 26, played four seasons at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Guillaume, 24, played three seasons at the University of Ottawa.
Gagne says Dawson, 22, is a local defenceman who adds depth and grit to the back end. The six-foot, 200-pound blueliner played in three pre-season games for Cornwall last year.