AUTHOR: ELLIS

HED:T-Rex keeping busy in summer

By Gregg Ellis

Daily Journal

There are still 109 days left until the Tupelo T-Rex begins its sophomore season on the ice, but that doesn't translate into the team fighting boredom.

It's the polar opposite.

The T-Rex is slated to open its season against the Alexandria Warthogs Oct. 14 at the Tupelo Coliseum. It will be the first of 35 home games. Until then, a copious amount of work is yet to done.

Following a woeful 20-45-4 inaugural campaign, change became inevitable. It also came quick.

A new owner, coach and general manager now oversee the daily operation of the team with one common goal in mind - to field a better product for the fans to enjoy.

That equates to a plethora of new players mixed in with a few faces from last year's team to fill the 20-man roster.

Currently, the T-Rex has seven players under contract and is in on-going negotiations with four other players, including Dave Szabo and Joe Van Volsen, both starters last season. Van Volsen led the team in points (62) and assists (39), while Szabo recording a team-high 33 goals.

"We have to put a better brand of hockey out on the ice," said Jim Newman, T-Rex general manager. "With the players we have already signed and the ones we hope to bring in, I think the fans will see that."

In an effort to bolster a defense that yielded a league-high 316 goals last year, Tupelo has signed veteran defenseman Tom Moulton, who brings to the ice eight years of professional hockey experience.

The team is also working on a trade that would bring Regan Harper from Corpus Christi. Harper was one of the top defensemen in the Western Professional Hockey League last year, where he was a plus-34 in goals allowed, fourth best in the WPHL.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to play in Tupelo," said Moulton, a native of London, Ontario, who has also played for the Central Hockey League's Huntsville Channel Cats. "Everyone here seems to be so nice.

"I like the direction this team is taking," he added. "I believe you build a team with defense."

Off the ice, the T-Rex has named Brandon Walker as its new media relations director. Walker, who served as an intern last year for the Vancouver Canucks, will also serve as the radio voice of the team. He replaces Mike Snyder, who resigned three weeks ago.

"We were very lucky to get him," Newman said. "We found out about him from Rick Kozuback (WPHL president). He has a great voice and possesses a wealth of knowledge about hockey."

Ice Chips: The T-Rex is offering five season-ticket packages, beginning at $50. For more information, call 662-620-7543 ... On Dec. 28, the T-Rex will again host a Russian team in an exhibition game ... During July and August, the team will be conducting 2-hour clinics for roller hockey at various businesses. For information, contact Troy Stevens at 662-620-7543.

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