BRAMPTON, ONTARIO - The Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the St. John’s IceCaps and Montreal Canadiens, announce today that stud defenseman and 2015-16 team MVP Mike Vernace has re-signed with the club for the upcoming ECHL season.
Vernace, 30, enjoyed one of his finest seasons as a professional while with the Beast last year. The 6’0” Toronto, Ontario native appeared in 56 games for the Beast last season and proved his worth at both ends of the ice, picking up five goals and 31 helpers for 36 points, to accompany his 117 penalty minutes.
Simply put, Vernace is synonymous with Brampton hockey. He starred for the OHL’s Brampton Battalion from 2003-04 to 2005-06, appearing in 138 games and notching 23 goals and 101 assists.
He cemented his place as a star in Brampton during the 2005-06 campaign, recording 62 assists, more than any other OHL defenseman.
As a professional, Vernace spent the majority of his career in the American Hockey League. To date, the 2004 San Jose Sharks draft pick has appeared in 443 AHL contests with the Albany River Rats, Lake Erie Monsters, Chicago Wolves, Hamilton Bulldogs, Norfolk Admirals, San Antonio Rampage, Connecticut Whale and Stockton Heat.
Vernace reached the peak of the hockey world in the 2008-09 season, appearing in five NHL contests with the Colorado Avalanche. His strong two-way play earned him another shot in the NHL in 2010-11, appearing in ten games and recording one assist with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A born leader, Vernace is excited for the opportunity to return to Brampton and help the Beast to their first Kelly Cup title.
“I like where the team is heading with a lot of good moves and pickups,” Vernace said. “I knew Brampton was always going to be a good option for me. The team looks good on paper. I really like what’s been going on over the course of the summer. I like the direction the team is going in. I’m happy that I can add to the core of the returning guys we have.”
Beast Head Coach Colin Chaulk knows Vernace was a big part of the club’s leadership group last season and hopes to see more of the same out of him this season.
“Mike is someone that lives and plays the right way,” Chaulk said. “He’s someone who wants to be better and play at the highest level possible. He has a great history in Brampton, both with the Beast last year and with the Battalion. With NHL games under his belt, we’re excited to have his experience and leadership back.”
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For more information or general media inquiries on the Brampton Beast, please contact Chris Ballard, Public Relations Coordinator at (905) 564-1684 or email@example.com.