The 2009-2010 Snakes opening night roster was released today and it contained the usual formula: 10 forwards, 6 defensemen and two goalies. The goalie lottery winners are Ian Vigier and Steve Bounds...for now.
In five years covering this team, I've seen Jerome make tough decisions. Cutting Dougie Mann, a teammate and friend, was difficult as was releasing Daryl Moor. But this call is especially hard.
Both Chad Rycroft and Steve Bounds committed to play in net for the Snakes and Ian Vigier was moving up to play in Dayton of the IHL. When Dayton wasn't a good fit for Ian, he called to ask Jerome about coming back here. That's where the dilemma began for the coach and GM, not to mention the man.
When Jerome invites a young man to camp here, the player is guaranteed a fair shot. He doesn't believe in having a kid come all this way and not have a legitimate chance to make the roster. He gives the players his word.
On the other hand, how do you turn down a goaltender as good as Ian Vigier? He's one of the top goalies in the SPHL and has already experienced success at the ECHL level. Jerome has to look out for the best interests of his team as a whole, which means putting the two best guys between the pipes.
The situation was complicated by Bounds' late arrival. He was in the South Carolina Stingrays' camp and missed the first three days of workouts here. He played 50 minutes over two exhibition games, but that's not enough for Jerome to make a final call. So Bounds is playing for a roster spot on Saturday night. No pressure there.
This is shaping up to be a great season. The Snakes have added size, speed and experience as well as the enthusiasm and fresh faces of the rookies.
Opening night is upon us...finally!!