Columbus Cottonmouths

Former Cottonmouths goalie Shannon Szabados finds new home in SPHL

Former Columbus Cottonmouths goalie Shannon Szabados played two-plus seasons in Columbus.
Former Columbus Cottonmouths goalie Shannon Szabados played two-plus seasons in Columbus. File photo

Former Columbus Cottonmouths goalie Shannon Szabados has signed with the Peoria Rivermen, according to a story on pjstar.com.

Szabados, who won gold medals for Canada in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, became the first female to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League when she signed with the Cottonmouths toward the end of the 2013-14 season. She completed that season and played two full seasons for Columbus.

The team didn’t protect her during the expansion draft that followed last season. That was at her request. She was not drafted by either Roanoke or Evansville.

Back in May, Columbus head coach and general manager Jerome Bechard categorized the parting with Szabados as a mutual decision.

“At our end-of-the-year meeting, I wanted to make sure everybody was on the same page, “ Bechard said in May. “I told her that nobody on my team has a job for next season.

“Everybody will be vying for a position, and you’re one of those. I don’t want to block you from playing somewhere else. She told me she was not 100 percent sure whether or not she would play in the next Olympics (in 2018), but she definitely wanted to play another year.”

After the meeting, she reached out to Bechard again.

“She e-mailed and said it would be best if I didn’t protect her. She wanted to see what’s out there,” Bechard said.

Szabados went 15-9-1 in her first full season with the Cottonmouths with a .907 save percentage. Last season, she went 5-11-4 with a .910 save percentage.

Kevin Price: 706-320-4493, @lesports

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