Columbus Cottonmouths sign five more players

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerOctober 12, 2013 

The Columbus Cottonmouths rounded out their training camp roster with the addition of five more players on Friday.

Two of five switched Southern Professional Hockey League cities.

The Snakes now have 25 players headed for camp, the largest in their 10-year tenure in the league.

Forwards Dan Bremner, Mike Henderson, Alex Gallant, Ian McNulty and defenseman Mike Switzer are the latest names on the list.

On Sunday, the players report for physicals and team meetings. Head coach Jerome Bechard will welcome three goaltenders, seven defensemen and 15 forwards for the two-week camp.

Bremner and Switzer are relocating within the SPHL. Bremner played two seasons with the Knoxville Ice Bears and Switzer wore an Augusta RiverHawks sweater last season. Bremner was left unprotected by Knoxville in the league's expansion draft, while Switzer was left without a team when Augusta went dark this season.

Rounding out the field are three rookies. Henderson, a native of Bloomington, Ind., played two seasons at West Point. Gallant and McNulty played four and three seasons in juniors, respectively.

Bremner turned to the Cottonmouths when Knoxville left him unprotected.

"A mutual acquaintance and I reached out to Jerome," Bremner said. "The Cottonmouths were always super competitive and I heard great things about the organization. Hopefully, it will be a good fit."

Bremner is up to the challenge of proving himself to a new team.

"I'm looking forward to a fresh start," Bremner said. "I know there will be higher expectations and I like that. "

Switzer broke into professional hockey in Augusta.

"It was a good learning experience for my first year pro. I learned how the game works. It's a little different than college," Switzer said. "I'm nervous and excited to be with a new team. Columbus was always tough to play against. They always had a good crowd and it's a good rink."

Gallant, who piled up 398 penalty minutes in 111 games, won't be in Columbus for camp or the beginning of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Gallant suffered and aggravated the injury while fighting.

"I hurt it two years back in a fight," Gallant said. "The next season I hurt it again in a fight. After I hurt it the third time in a fight, I had surgery in May. I'm working with a physical therapist and it's going well. In another month, I'll be fully recovered and ready to play."

Henderson comes to Columbus through his connection to former Cottonmouth Andrew Sherman, a teammate of Bechard's in 1996-1997, the franchise's inaugural year.

"My coach played with Jerome a while back and he put us in touch," Henderson said. "I also talked to Marcel Alvarez."

Alvarez, who pulled double duty with the Army and Snakes last season, told Henderson all about his experience.

"I talked to Marcel quite a bit. He thinks it will be a great fit for me," Henderson said. "Marcel really enjoyed his time there."

McNulty played three seasons with the Melville Millionaires, where he put up impressive numbers. McNulty played in 153 games, scoring 73 goals and 101 assists.

The players hit the ice on Monday morning. The Snakes play a pair of exhibition games in the middle of camp. They travel to Knoxville on Friday, Oct. 18, and host the Ice Bears the following night at the Ice Rink at 7:30. Tickets are $10 and general admission seating is limited to 500 fans.

The Snakes open the season on the road for the first time in their 10-year SPHL history. They travel to Pensacola on Friday, Oct. 25. The home-opener against Knoxville is on the 26th at 7:30.

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