Photos: Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Peoria Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel has announced that Nick Wheeler (pictured) was called up to the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) on Monday, while winger Jeremiah Ketts has agreed to an SPHL contract following his three-game tryout. In addition, forward Phil Bushbacher was called up to ECHL Cincinnati on Tuesday. Both Wheeler and Bushbacher will report immediately.
Wheeler had skated in all 26 games for the Rivermen this season and was third on the team with six goals at the time of his promotion. The 25-year-old also notched five assists (11 points) and 32 penalty minutes this year.
A native of Nashua, New Hampshire, Wheeler spent 33 games last season with ECHL Fort Wayne, where he produced 15 points (3g, 12a) and 33 penalty minutes for the Komets. He also appeared in 29 contests in the Federal Hockey League last year between the Cape Cod Bluefins and Dayton Demonz. Overall, the 5’8, 175-pound winger/defenseman is in his third professional season following a four-year career at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He played 38 SPHL games between the Augusta RiverHawks, Fayetteville FireAntz and Huntsville Havoc during the 2011-12 season, where he collected an assist and 20 penalty minutes to begin his pro career.
Bushbacher, 26, was originally signed by the Rivermen on New Year's Eve and made four appearances with Peoria. He began this season with the St. Charles Chill (CHL) and posted seven points (4g, 3a) and a pair of penalty minutes in 20 games. A native of Glenview, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, Bushbacher began his pro career in the SPHL playoffs last season and made one appearance for the Louisiana Ice Gators. The 6’2, 210-pound forward also spent two years at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin from 2011-2013 and two years at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois from 2009-2011.
Ketts, 26, was initially signed to a training camp contract with the Rivermen, but dealt with an upper body injury and didn’t make it to Peoria until he was signed to a three-game tryout on New Year’s Day. In his Rivermen debut, he notched two points (1g, 1a) against Bloomington that night, and added two more assists against the Mississippi Surge this past weekend in Biloxi.
Last year, the Foristell, Missouri native made 30 appearances in the SPHL between the Mississippi Surge, Huntsville Havoc and Pensacola Ice Flyers. He also played in a pair of games for the Tulsa Oilers (CHL). The 5’10, 185-pound center made his pro debut with the Reading Royals (ECHL) in 2011-12 following a four-year career at Johnson and Wales University in North Miami, Florida.
The Rivermen conclude a three-game road trip next Friday with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Bloomington Thunder at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The game can be heard locally on CD Country 107.9 FM or online at www.cd1079.net. Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at www.americaonesports.com.