PEORIA, Ill. – Veteran Tohoku Free Blades right wing Masahito Suzuki will take the ice this morning at the Peoria Rivermen training camp in hopes of earning a spot on the team’s 2013-14 regular season roster.
The 29-year-old native of Tomakomai, Japan is currently in his fifth season with the Free Blades where he has two points (1 G, 1 A, +1) and 18 penalty minutes in four games. Suzuki contributed to three Asia League championships with the Free Blades (2008, 2011, 2013) and was a key member of Japan’s national team in 2011.
Prior to his time with the Free Blades, Suzuki played for three seasons with the Oji Eagles.
Suzuki’s best pro season came in 2010-11, when he tallied 46 points (17 G, 29 A) and 14 PIM in 36 regular season contests. He added two goals in four post-season games, which culminated in the league championship. Last season, the 5’, 8” 170 pound right wing had 37 points (16 G, 21 A) and 26 PIM in 42 games and another four goals in eight post-season games including a hat trick in Game Three of the championship series.
Peoria’s training camp roster consists of a total of 25 players who reported to the team on Sunday. The players will take their physicals this morning, followed by the first practice later in the day.
The training camp will continue on October 15th, when players return to the ice for two sessions each day October 15-17. Those sessions include a morning practice and afternoon scrimmage, and will prepare the Rivermen for their first exhibition game against the Bloomington Thunder on Friday, October 18th. Peoria will then head to Bloomington on Saturday, October 19th, for their second and final exhibition match.
While there’s no guarantee Suzuki will make the final roster, which will be announced following the camp, but it’s a sure bet the talented winger will make a case for his inclusion.
The Rivermen will drop the puck for their 32nd season, and first in the Southern Professional Hockey League on Friday, October 25th at Bloomington.
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