CHL Preview: League’s expansion teams are ready for business

CHL_20100601162426_320_240When the puck drops tonight at the Powerade Center, the 2013-14 CHL season will officially be underway. Not only will the league welcome it’s first team from Canada with the Brampton Beast, they will also welcome their second team from Missouri when the St. Charles Chill kicks their season off on Saturday. The addition of the two franchises will keep the total number of CHL teams at 10, after the loss of the Fort Worth Brahmas and Bloomington Blaze in the off-season.

The Beast will call the 5,000-seat Powerade Centre home, taking over for the OHL Brampton Battalion who moved following their 2012-13 season. Brampton hired ex-CHL player and assistant coach Mark DeSantis as it’s head coach. DeSantis, who played in the CHL for six seasons and won a title as assistant coach of the Rapid City Rush in 2009-10, compiled a record of 35-18-3 in one season as head coach of the SPHL Fayetteville FireAntz.

Brampton Beast Head Coach Mark DeSantis during his playing days with the Rapid City Rush / Photo by Les Stockton

DeSantis has put together a solid group of players, drawing several familiar names. Newly named team captain Brett Smith, Calin Wild, Tyler Matheson, Michael Couch, Erik Spady, Jamie VanderVeeken, Kris Westblom and Grant Rollheiser all have previous CHL experience. The Beast open their season at home with a three-game set against the Arizona Sundogs.

Meanwhile, in St. Charles, Missouri, NHL veteran Jamie Rivers will serve as general manager and head coach of the Chill. Rivers, a defenseman, played in 454 games in the NHL with seven different teams. The Chill, who will call the 9,643-seat Family Arena home, recently announced an affiliation with the nearby NHL St. Louis Blues.

Chad Costello will lead the offensive charge for the St. Charles Chill / Photo by Les Stockton

St. Charles will open the season on Saturday night against the Missouri Mavericks with 10-players with previous CHL experience. Most notable are Chad Costello and Steve Makway. Costello scored 84-points with the Tulsa Oilers in the 2010-11 season, while Makway’s 957 career penalty minutes in the CHL will add toughness. On an interesting sidenote, the Chill currently has six players on their roster from the state of Missouri.

Team: Brampton Beast
Arena: Powerade Centre (5,000)
Head Coach: Mark DeSantis (1st year)

Forwards: Brett Smith, Calin Wild, Jason Pitton, Tylor Michel, Josh McQuade, Rob Collins, Brett Vandehogen, Matt Caruana, Andrew Fournier, Tyler Matheson, Mike MacIsaac.

Defensemen: Michael Couch, Erik Spady, Andrew Darrigo, Steve Ward, Jamie VanderVeeken, Mike MacIntyre.

Goalies: Kris Westblom, Grant Rollheiser.

Team: St. Charles Chill
Arena: The Family Arena (9,643)
Head Coach: Jamie Rivers (1st year)

Forwards: Kyle Kraemer, Chad Costello, Kyle O’Kane, Sean Muncy, Matt Whitehead, Ryan Berard, Martin Hlinka, Justin Levac, Steven Anthony, Tyler Barr, Anthony Perdicaro.

Defensemen: Tony DeHart, Jordan Fox, Steve Makway, David Strathman, Greg Brown, Dean Moore, Anthony Pisano.

Goalies: Robert Moss, Mathieu Corbeil.

Contact the writer: john.hall@prohockeynews.com
Contact the photographer: les.stockton@prohockeynews.com

Editor’s note- With CHL teams opening training camp this week, the Pro Hockey News CHL staff is giving you an inside look at all ten teams to get you ready for the upcoming season. Today we look at the Brampton Beast and St. Charles Chill.

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