CHL DRAFT SteelHounds select first five players
Two of them played in this year's CHL finals.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Youngstown SteelHounds minor league hockey team drafted the rights to four defensemen and one forward during the Central Hockey League expansion draft Saturday.
Two of the players -- defensemen Kris Mallette and forward Darryl Lloyd -- participated in this year's CHL Finals.
The SteelHounds are a CHL expansion team that will debut in October and play their first home games in November at the Youngstown Convocation Center.
The CHL will send 15 teams on the ice in four months and all but the SteelHounds are in the Central and Mountain time zones.
The addition of the SteelHounds, combined with the loss of three teams from the 2004-05 season, forced the CHL to realign its divisions.
The SteelHounds have been placed in the Northeast Division with the Bossier-Shreveport (Louisiana) Mudbugs, Fort Worth (Texas) Brahmas and Memphis River Kings (DeSoto, Miss.)
Two other divisions will have four teams while another will have three. Four teams in each conference earn playoff spots.
Of the 32 games to be played in Youngstown, 10 teams will visit twice while the other four will play three times.
The other 14 teams were allowed to protect 14 of their 18 players on their roster at season's end. The SteelHounds were limited to drafting five players overall and not more than one from any team.
Played for league champs
Mallette, the first SteelHounds player drafted, played for the CHL champion Colorado Eagles.
The 26-year-old Kelowna, British Columbia, native led the Eagles in penalty minutes with 193.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound defenseman scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and a plus 27 rating (on the ice for 27 more even-strength goals) during the regular season.
In the playoffs, Mallette dressed in all 16 games for the Eagles, recording 54 penalty minutes. The physical blueliner was originally a third-round draft selection (62nd overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
Lloyd, 21, finished his rookie season tied for fifth in scoring for the Laredo Bucks (13 goals, 22 assists) with 103 penalty minutes and a plus 17 rating.
The 5-10, 195 center's prior three seasons were played in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires where he had 44 goals and 39 assists in 200 career games.
The other defensemen's rights selected by SteelHounds coach Jean Laforest were Mike Mohr, Matt Nicholson and Kelly Sickavish.
Mohr, 26, played in all 60 regular season games last season for the Austin Ice Bats finishing second among the team's defensemen with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists). He also registered 107 penalty minutes and was a plus 3.
Also played for Tulsa
Prior to sitting out the 2003-04 season, Mohr played four campaigns with the Tulsa Oilers, dressing in 259 career games, with 24 goals and 62 assists.
Nicholson, 23, dressed in 31 games for the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs last season, posting 11 points (three goals, eight assists) with 77 penalty minutes and a plus 10 rating. The rookie had played the previous four seasons at Colgate University.
Sickavish, 26, played 47 games with the Wichita Thunder during his first professional season, notching four assists along with 83 penalty minutes.
The 6-3, 215 defenseman was a plus 1 in 10 playoff games for the Thunder. The North Vancouver native played four seasons with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he recorded eight points.
Before the draft, Laforest spoke with all five players to make sure they had no reservations to playing on a team that will have huge travel requirements.
The players have not signed contracts for the 2004-05 season.