Levi Lind to achieve veteran status in 2013-14 campaign

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerAugust 8, 2013 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI/ rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.comCottonmouth forward Levi Lind checks a the Knoxville Ice Bears player during first period play Jan. 8 at the Columbus Civic Center.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI

Columbus Cottonmouths center Levi Lind will reach two milestones during the team's 10th season in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Lind dons a Snakes sweater for a fifth season and will also achieve veteran status.

Joining Lind on the training camp roster are forwards Will Aide and Jason Yuel. Also headed to camp beginning Oct. 13 are forwards Matt Gingera and Jordan Zalba along with defensemen Chris Bailer, Jason Gray, and Kyle Johnson.

"It seems like yesterday when I moved into the team apartments my rookie year with Jesse Cole," Lind said. "Four years have flown by."

Lind begins the season with 222 professional games under his belt, only two shy of becoming a veteran.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs, from winning a championship to not having my best personal seasons," Lind said. "I need to work on some things especially if I want to stay on as a vet. I have to stay positive knowing I can put up good numbers."

Lind's rookie season was his most productive offensively. He scored 52 points, 19 goals and 33 assists, in 56 regular season games. Since then, Lind has hovered around the 20-point mark.

Lind enjoyed a lengthy call-up to Rapid City (CHL) during the Snakes' 2011-2012 championship season. He played 30 games before returning for the Cottonmouths title run.

"It was a good experience," Lind said. "It was good to see how quick the game is at a level higher. I had to do different things to make the lineup, to get out on the ice. You have to play defensively and know your role as a player. I got to work on a lot of different areas."

Yuel will attend his second Snakes camp with plans to be in the lineup on opening night. Last year, Yuel was caught in a numbers crunch and began the season in street clothes. He was signed on Nov. 6 and played his first game that night.

"I might have underestimated how small the roster is with only 10 forwards," Yuel said. "I knew the numbers would be tight, but I tried to stay positive and wait for a chance to make an impression."

Yuel scored 15 points, 6 goals and 9 assists, in 53 games played.

"I want to make more of an impact offensively this season," Yuel said. "I think I've established myself as a physical presence, an agitator in the defensive zone. Now I want to be more productive offensively."

Aide was a late addition to the roster a year ago, arriving on Feb. 16 and playing in only 10 games. He spent five games on the sidelines, serving a suspension for his actions at home against the Mississippi Surge on Mar. 9.

"Branden Kosolofsky had been giving me and the rest of the guys crap all night," Aide said. "He was running his mouth but wouldn't fight. At the buzzer, we were in our zone and he stopped in front of our bench and started yelling. I opened the door and grabbed him. I don't think he expected me to come off the bench."

Though Aide's suspension for leaving the bench shortened his rookie season, he took only fond memories from the experience and is eager for his first camp.

"The atmosphere was great," Aide said. "The guys brought me in and I felt wanted, like I'd played the whole season. When coach (Bechard) called me about camp, my eyes lit up. I'm ecstatic to play a full season."

Aide's brief tenure gave him little time to show his skills.

"I need to show I'm an all-around good player," Aide said. "Jerome told me I need to score more. I need to capitalize on my chances. If I keep playing hard, I'll be happy with the results."

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