ELMIRA, N.Y. - July 29, 2013 - The Elmira Jackals announced today that they have agreed to terms with forwards Rob Bellamy and Artem Demkov, along with defensemen Kyle Bushee and Jordon Southorn for the 2013-14 season.
"We are very excited to have these four skaters back for the 2013-14 season. Each has a high skill level and knows what it takes to be successful," said Jackals vice president and general manager Robbie Nichols.
Bellamy, 28, returns for his third season in Elmira. Last year he finished with career highs in goals (20), assists (28), and points (48) while skating in all 72 regular season games. Bellamy finished fourth on the club in points, tacked on 84 penalty minutes, and went on to add a pair of assists in six playoff games. The 6-0, 205-pound winger from Westfield, Mass. has registered 72 points (31 goals, 41 assists) and 131 penalty minutes in 135 games with Elmira. Originally selected in the third round (#92 overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2004, Bellamy is entering his sixth season of professional hockey after four years at the University of Maine.
Jackals head coach Dwight Mullins on Bellamy:"Having Rob in the lineup makes us a tough team to play against. He skates well, finishes his checks, and provides offense. Rob is a veteran guy who knows how to be a professional and is a great addition to this year's team."
Bellamy on returning to Elmira for 2013-14:
"Elmira has been loyal to me and it's a place that has given me an opportunity to do what I love to do. I have met some great guys, and have created some great friendships in my time here thus far and I hope to continue to do so. I am excited about the new ownership and I'm confident that they'll be there for the players throughout the season. We get great support from our fans and they make our rink so tough for opposing teams to play in. Most of all I am excited to win. We have created a winning mentality here the last couple of years and I am confident this year will be the same so we can make a long run in the playoffs."
Bushee, 28, is coming off of his most productive year as a pro in 2012-13. The veteran defenseman from Otsego, Mich. potted 32 points (9 goals, 23 assists) over 63 games in his first season with the Jackals. The 6-0, 185-pound rearguard played to a +15 while logging time on the Jackals' top power play and penalty kill units. Bushee was Elmira's top scoring defenseman in the playoffs with four points (1 goal, 3 assists) over six games. Set to enter his sixth year in professional hockey, Bushee has logged 353 games between Elmira, Wheeling, Johnstown, and Cincinnati of the ECHL, as well as Portland, Manitoba, St. John's, Norfolk, and Binghamton of the American Hockey League.
Jackals head coach Dwight Mullins on Bushee:"Kyle brings a steady presence and a ton of experience to our blue line. He is an elite defender at this level and everyone on the team knows that we can count on him in all situations."
Bushee on returning to Elmira for 2013-14:"Last year was one of the most enjoyable of my pro career. We had a great group of guys and played well in the regular season. We have some unfinished business because we didn't get as far in the playoffs as we wanted to. There's a great core coming back that has us in position to compete for a championship."
Demkov, like Bellamy, returns for his third season in Elmira. The 23-year-old center from Minsk, Belarus netted 23 goals in 39 games for the Jackals last season and added 17 assists for 40 points. Despite not playing a full season in Elmira he finished second on the team in goals and sixth in points. For his Jackals career Demkov has produced 97 points (43 goals, 54 assists) in 106 games. Following the end of the National Hockey League lockout Demkov signed to play in the German Elite League with the Hamburg Freezers and picked up an assist in 12 games.
Jackals head coach Dwight Mullins on Demkov:"Artem is a true first-line center in this league and he showed a knack for scoring big goals last year. He is hungry to continue to improve his game and make the jump to the next level. I am excited to work with him again."
Demkov on returning to Elmira for 2013-14:"This is going to be my third year in Elmira and I really like it here. We have the best fans, the guys on the team are very cohesive and friendly, and the coaching and administration are top-notch. I'm ready to come help the team play at a high level in whatever way I can, and develop my game so I can reach the AHL."
Southorn returns as the top-scoring defenseman from the 2012-13 Jackals. The 23-year-old blueliner racked up 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) and a +27 rating in 64 games. His 11 goals were tied for fourth-most in the league and his +27 rating was the third-best +/- rating for any Jackals skater since the team joined the ECHL in 2007-08. He also added two points on a goal and an assist in six playoff games. A former fourth round pick (#104) by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008, Southorn has put up 64 points (19 goals, 45 assists) in 149 games split between Trenton, Wheeling, and Elmira.
Jackals head coach Dwight Mullins on Southorn:"Jordon is a young defenseman who has good experience and the tools to succeed at the next level. He skates well, manages the puck well, and can provide some offense. He will be a big part of what we do defensively this year."
Southorn on returning to Elmira for 2013-14:"I've talked to a lot of the guys from last year who are returning and we aren't satisfied with how things ended last year. We want to come back and go further in the playoffs and compete for a championship; that's our main goal. I had a great time in Elmira last year, and it's a good fit playing for Dwight. With the core group coming back it's going to be an exciting year."
Mark your calendars! The Jackals open their seventh season of ECHL hockey on Friday, October 25 against the Reading Royals at 7:05 p.m. Don't miss a minute of the action with Jackals season tickets. They offer the best discount off of the box office price and come with great benefits like merchandise discounts, exclusive meet-and-greets with the team, ticket exchange, and more. Call 607-734-7825 to order your season tickets today. They start as low as $10 per game!
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