Dennis Sievers/Peoria Rivermen
Peoria Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel announced Tuesday that high-scoring center Garrett Vermeersch, who led the team in points last season, has been re-signed along with Steve Morra for the 2014-15 Southern Professional Hockey League campaign. In addition, veteran defenseman Nick Schneider has also been added.
Vermeersch, 24, finished second in the league’s scoring race as a rookie last season collecting 57 points (27g, 30a) in 52 games for the Rivermen. He also posted a plus-18 rating and was one of six players to be named to the SPHL’s All-Rookie team last March.
In addition, Peoria’s top scorer was promoted to the ECHL twice last year, where he notched one assist in four games between the Fort Wayne Komets and Greenville Road Warriors.
“We love having him on our team,” Trudel said. “He has a way of changing the game and thrives in the high pressure, clutch situations. We’re very excited.”
Prior to turning pro, the Macomb, Michigan native spent four years at Northeastern University in Boston from 2009-2013. There, he recorded 23 goals and 50 assists over 130 colligate games. During his junior season in 2011-12, Vermeersch tied for the team lead in goals (10) and was third overall in team scoring (24 points).
Morra, 25, appeared in 51 games for the Rivermen last season and recorded 29 points (10g, 19a) during his rookie campaign. He also added one assist in three playoff contests.
A native of Bristol Township, Rhode Island, Morra played four years with Vermeersch at Northeastern University in Boston from 2009-13. Over 54 games, the versatile forward notched three goals and five assists along with 18 penalty minutes.
Prior to his college career, the 5’11, 190-pound forward played three seasons of junior hockey for the Boston Jr. Bruins in the Empire Junior Hockey League from 2006-2009. In 90 career games, he scored 43 goals and added 53 assists for 96 points. During that span, Morra also received numerous awards including Team MVP and EJHL All-Star in 2007.
A sixth-year pro, Schneider split time last season between the Denver Cutthroats and St. Charles Chill in the Central Hockey League (CHL). In 62 games, he produced two goals with 11 assists for 13 points. Overall, the 29-year-old defenseman registered 63 points (10g, 53a) in 246 career CHL games over the past four years.
In addition, Schneider played three games for the Huntsville Havoc (SPHL) during the 2012-13 campaign.
“He’s going to be a big piece for us,” Trudel said. “He played in the CHL with Cole Ruwe (Rivermen captain), and that’s who recommended him to us.”
“He’s going to bring a lot of physicality. He hits like a train, but he can skate too.”
Ticket packages for the 2014-15 season are on sale now and start at just $280! To reserve your seats, call 309-676-1040 today or visit the Rivermen office located at 201 SW Jefferson Street from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter (https://twitter.com/Peoria_Rivermen).