The Cincinnati Cyclones have announced that forwards Nick Huard and Christiaan Minella have re-signed and will skate with the team for the 2015-2016 season. The Cyclones have also extended qualifying offers to seven players who suited up for the team last season.
Signed by the ‘Clones on March 19 after a three-year career at the University of Guelph, Huard had an immediate impact on his new team.
“Nick is a guy who came in for the last 13 games for us last season, and made his presence felt by scoring six points in those games,” said Cyclones Head Coach Matt MacDonald. “I believe coming into his first full pro year, he has the maturity and grasp on things and will make a big statement this year.”
The North Bay, ONT, native also posted a +3 on-ice rating and recorded 27 shots on goal during that time.
Minella returns for his second year in a row, and third overall in a Cyclones uniform. The Cincinnati native scored nine goals and added 10 assists in 64 games played last season, and ranked second on the team with 89 penalty minutes.
“We’re excited to have Christiaan Minella back, as he is an integral part of our organization and I believe he will be a big part of next year’s success,” said MacDonald. “Not only is he a great character guy on the ice and in the locker room, he does a lot off the ice and in the community and we couldn’t be happier that he is returning.”
Minella is preparing for his sixth professional season, having spent time with the Wheeling Nailers, in addition to the Cyclones. In 235 career games, he has accounted for 49 goals and 45 assists, for 94 total points.
Additionally, the Cyclones have extended qualifying offers to Jack Downing, Branden Gracel, Geoff Irwin, Garrick Perry, Michael Quinn, and Brett Wysopal.
Each ECHL team was entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four could be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2015-16 season). Also, players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.
A qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until August 1, at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary, or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.
A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player will retain the rights to that veteran until August 1. After August 1, if the veteran player is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers from other ECHL teams.
The countdown to the 2015-16 First Face-Off is underway! The Cyclones will return to U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday, October 17 when they host the Toledo Walleye at 7:30pm. Between now and then, be on the lookout for several offseason events like Meijer Concrete Clones! 2015-16 Season Ticket Packages are available NOW! Call 513.421.PUCK to reserve your seats. Fans can also get the latest team updates throughout the offseason on Facebook, Twitter (@CincyCyclones), and Instagram!