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Amerks Sign Hawkins To Pro Tryout

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(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans announced that the team has signed forward Brandon Hawkins to a Professional Tryout (PTO).

Hawkins, 26, joins the Amerks after registering 19 goals and 12 assists for 31 points in 28 games with the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) to begin the 2020-21 season. The 5-foot-10, 198-pound forward currently paces all Komets skaters in both goals and points in addition to leading the ECHL with 10 power-play tallies.

As a rookie during the 2019-20 campaign, Hawkins totaled 34 points (16+18) over 53 combined games between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among all first-year skaters, Hawkins topped all Nailers in goals (16), assists (17) and points (33) in 47 contests.

The third-year pro has appeared in 11 career AHL games with the Penguins, totaling three points (2+1) while also adding 64 points (35+29) in the ECHL between Wheeling and Fort Wayne.

Prior to turning pro, the Macomb, Mich., native completed a four-year collegiate career between Bowling Green State University (WCHA) and Northeastern University (H-East), where he combined for 108 points (46+62) in 141 games from 2014-2019. During his first season with the Falcons in 2014, he ranked first on the team in both goals (16) and points (30) in 39 games while earning a spot on the NCAA (WHCA) All-Rookie Team.

DeSimone Loaned To Rochester From Vegas

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SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 5: against the San Diego Gulls at SAP Center on February 5, 2020 in San Jose, California (Photo by Kavin Mistry)

(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans announced that defenseman Nick DeSimone has been loaned to the team from the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL).

DeSimone, 26, joins the Amerks after beginning the 2020-21 season with the San Jose Barracuda (AHL), where he recorded five assists in 14 games while serving as an assistant captain. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound blueliner was recently acquired by the Golden Knights on April 12 in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft from the San Jose Sharks.

The fifth-year pro has appeared in 190 career AHL games with the Barracuda, totaling 91 points (26+65), including a career-best 46-point campaign in 2018-19 when he finished tied for seventh in scoring among all AHL defensemen. He also has nine points (2+7) over 21 Calder Cup Playoff contests.

Prior to turning pro, the East Amherst, New York, native completed a three-year collegiate career at Union College (ECAC), where he registered 48 points (15+33) in 109 games with the Dutchmen from 2014-2017. During his final season, DeSimone finished tied for fifth on the team with a career-high nine goals while also producing then a personal-best 19 points in 38 games.

Sabres’ Tokarski and Roswell Park’s Pastorius Named NHL’s “First Stars” of The Week

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NEW YORK (April 19, 2021) – Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center RN Michaela Pastorius have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending April 18.

Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.”

Pastorius works as a nurse at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, where just a few years ago she was walking the same halls as a patient battling a cancer diagnosis. Pastorius put nursing school on hold while going through treatment, but vowed to finish her degree and now works alongside the nurses who once cared for her as a patient.

The inpatient unit at Roswell Park where Pastorius works – known as 6West – is typically for cancer patients with solid tumors, but has become a designated COVID-19 space over the past year. Pastorius understands what these patients are going through and brings a positive attitude to the floor despite the incredibly challenging and emotional experience of the pandemic on both patients and staff.

“When I was going through inpatient chemotherapy at Roswell Park, the Buffalo Sabres gave me motivation to continue fighting,” Pastorius says. “The amount of support the Sabres show for Roswell and its patients felt personal to me since I am such a big fan . . . The appreciation I had and still have for their support is bottomless.”

Rounding out the “Three Stars” of the week are New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin and Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone. More on each NHL player’s performance can be found below:

FIRST STAR – DUSTIN TOKARSKI, G, BUFFALO SABRES

Tokarski made a League-best 128 saves on 137 shots, compiling a 2.27 goals-against average and .934 save percentage to help the Sabres (12-26-7, 31 points) go 2-1-1 versus three of the top four teams in the MassMutual NHL East Division. He turned aside 29 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins April 13. Tokarski then recorded 27 saves for his first NHL victory since Dec. 12, 2015 (w/ MTL) – and first winsince his father passed away in 2017 – in a 5-2 triumph over the Washington Capitals April 15. He finished the week with a pair of starts against the Pittsburgh Penguins, making 38 saves in a 3-2 loss April 17 followed by 34 stops in a 4-2 victory April 18. The 31-year-old Watson, Sask., native – who last appeared in the NHL in 2016-17 (w/ ANA) prior to signing with Buffalo in November – has played in nine games this season, posting a 2-5-2 record with a 3.15 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

15 Statesmen earn NEHC All-Academic honors

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Fifteen members of the Hobart College hockey team were named to the 2020-21 New England Hockey Conference All-Academic team. The Statesmen have had double-digit honorees every year since the 2009-10 season.

To be eligible for all-academic recognition, a student must carry a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average and have completed one full year at his institution.

The following Statesmen earned a spot on the all-academic team:

Longo, Lynch, Robitaille, Schneider, Schult and Spring earned all-academic recognition for the third year in a row. Coffey, Halstrom, Martineau, McGowan and Sliney garnered the award for the second straight year.

While Hobart did not have a formal 2020-21 season, the Statesmen did play three exhibition games in March. Hobart went 3-0-0, outscoring its opponents 10-2.

2021 USA Hockey Warrior Classic to be Held Nov. 4-7 in New Jersey

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The Flyers Warriors will play host to the fifth annual event
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced today that the Flyers Warriors will play host to the 2021 USA Hockey Warrior Classic, Nov. 4-7, in New Jersey. Games will be staged at two rinks: the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, and Hollydell Ice Arena in Sewell, New Jersey.

“We’re beyond excited to be the host club for the USA Hockey Warrior Classic,” said Bill Duffy, president of the Flyers Warriors, “When talking with Coach Marsh and Coach Baer, we figured after having our local tournament canceled twice, why not host one of the biggest events in warrior hockey.

“We will guarantee that the Warrior Classic will be the best experience to date and we are looking forward to seeing everyone in November.”

The event brings together warrior hockey teams from around the country to participate in a weekend of hockey that is dedicated to U.S. military veterans with a disability who also play ice hockey. To be eligible, all players must be or have been veterans and members of the Armed Forces and meet a minimum disability rating.

For the most up-to-date news on USA Hockey’s disabled hockey program, including information about all six disciplines of the sport, click here.
(USA Hockey Photo)

Coomey Named To USA Hockey National Team Staff

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Penn State Associate Head Coach joins USA for 2021 IIHF World Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Penn State women’s hockey associate head coach Allison Coomey has been named an assistant coach for the 2021 USA Hockey women’s national team for the upcoming IIHF World Championships being held in Nova Scotia May 6-16.

Coomey joins the staff of interim head coach Joel Johnson as announced by USA Hockey April 16. The team begins its training camp April 17 in Portland, Maine. View USA Hockey’s full release here.

One of the nation’s top coaches, Coomey’s leadership and perspective on the game has helped create a positive winning culture at Penn State in her four seasons with the Nittany Lions. Penn State won its first CHA regular season championship in 2020-21 with a 16-3-2 overall record and the program’s first ever national ranking.

She was named the 2019 AHCA Women’s Hockey Assistant Coach of the Year for her outstanding career resume, which now includes four-straight CHA semifinal appearances for the Nittany Lions and her promotion to associate head coach before the 2020-21 season. Prior to Penn State, Coomey had a successful nine-year stint at Boston University in which she coached four Olympians who won a combined six gold medals.

She has also had prior coaching experiences with USA Hockey, most recently as a member of USA Hockey’s scouting staff at the 2019 IIHF U18 women’s world championship. She also has experience as a Team USA Camp instructor at the Women’s National Festival and Women’s National Winter Camp. 

 For the latest updates on Penn State women’s ice hockey, follow @PennStateWHKY on Twitter, “like” the Penn State Women’s Ice Hockey page on Facebook, and follow @pennstatewhky on Instagram.

Joel Johnson Named Interim Head Coach of 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team

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Replaces Bob Corkum, Who Stepped Aside
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Joel Johnson (White Bear Lake, Minn./University of Minnesota), who brings more than two decades of coaching experience and has been involved with the U.S. Women’s National Team Program since 2015, has been named interim head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Bob Corkum, who served as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team since the 2018-19 season, has stepped down from his role.

“Bob put his heart and soul into continuing to build on the legacy of our women’s national team program over the past three seasons and we’re grateful for all he did,” said Katie Million, director of women’s national team programs for USA Hockey. “While he’s stepping away, he’ll always be a big part of the USA Hockey family and we’ll certainly miss him.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone like Joel to step in and guide our team at the world championship. He’s been an important part of our program and is well positioned to help build on the success we’ve enjoyed.”

ABOUT JOHNSONJohnson has been a long-time contributor to the U.S. women’s program, including guiding the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team to four straight gold medals (2015-18) as head coach at the International Ice Hockey Federation U18 Women’s World Championship.In the 2017-18 season, Johnson served as head coach of the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team at the 2018 U22 Series vs. Canada in Calgary and led Team USA to a three-game sweep.

He made his debut with the U.S. Women’s National Team as an assistant coach in 2018-19 and helped guide the U.S. to its fourth straight Women’s Four Nations Cup that season, as well as the gold medal at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland.

Johnson finished his 16th season on the University of Minnesota bench as associate head coach in 2020-21. He has helped guide the Golden Gophers to six national titles (2000, 2004, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016).

Prior to his time at Minnesota, he spent six seasons (2004-10) coaching at Bethel University.Joining Johnson as part of the U.S. coaching staff are assistant coaches Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass.), Allison Coomey (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and goaltending coach Alli Altmann (Eagan, Minn.).Team USA will play in the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship May 6-16, in Halifax and Turo, Nova Scotia, seeking a sixth straight gold medal in the event.

The U.S. begins its training camp ahead of the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship tomorrow (April 17) in Portland, Maine.

NOTES: Team USA has won the last five IIHF Women’s World Championship titles and captured gold a total of nine times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), including eight of the last nine tournaments.

2021 U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team Roster Announced

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2021 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship to be played April 26-May 6 in Texas 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced the 25-player roster for the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team that will compete at the upcoming 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship from April 26-May 6 in Frisco and Plano, Texas. The 10-nation championship is split into two groups for the preliminary round, which begins April 26.

Team USA will play in Group B alongside Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Russia with all games staged at Comercia Center in Frisco. Group A includes Belarus, Canada, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland and they will play preliminary round games at Children’s Health StarCenter in Plano, Texas.

Each site will host two quarterfinal games and the two semifinal games and bronze and gold-medal games will be hosted at Comerica Center. The U.S. is in search of its 11th gold medal in tournament history after most recently claiming gold in 2017 in Poprad, Slovakia.

Team USA has medaled in a record 16 consecutive tournaments, including six golds over the past 10 tournaments. The United States took home a bronze medal at the 2019 tournament in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.Team USA is led by head coach Dan Muse (Canton, Mass.), making his IIHF head coaching debut.  

For the entire team roster, click here

NOTESKeith Allain (Worcester, Mass./Yale University), Mike Leone (Dearborn, Mich./NTDP), Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass./NTDP), Nick Fohr (Grand Forks, N.D./NTDP) and David Lassonde (Plymouth, N.H./NTDP) are serving as assistants to U.S. head coach Dan Muse for the 2021 IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship … The 2021 tournament marks the third time the U18 Men’s World Championship has been played in the United States after stops in Grand Forks (2016) and Fargo (2009) … HockeyTV.com is providing live streaming coverage of the entire 2021 IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship. All games will be available in the U.S. execpt those airing on NHL Network, which are expected to include the quarterfinal, semifinal and medal round games … For more information about the 2021 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, click here.       

USA Hockey Announces Inaugural Blind Hockey Classic

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Event set for Oct. 22-24 in St. Louis, Missouri; Registration opens May 1
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced that the inaugural USA Hockey Blind Hockey Classic will take place Oct, 22-24, 2021, at the Centenne Community Ice Center in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the fastest growing segments of disabled hockey, blind hockey features an adapted puck that makes noise and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck.

Players’ levels of vision range from legally blind – approximately 10 percent vision or less – to totally blind. Custom three foot high nets are used rather than the traditional four foot nets to keep the puck low to the ice so it can make noise and be tracked aurally.

Teams must complete one pass in the attacking zone prior to being able to score. This provides both the low vision defense and the goalie an extra opportunity to track the puck.

An on-ice official uses a different whistle to indicate that a pass has been completed and the attacking team is eligible to score.

NOTES: Registration for the inaugural USA Hockey Blind Hockey Classic will open May 1, 2021 … Blind Hockey was first played in the U.S. on October 18, 2014, with the first ever Blind Hockey Summit in Newburgh, New York … At the 2015 USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival, in Buffalo, New York, blind hockey was introduced to the rest of the disabled hockey community … For more information on disabled hockey, click here, and for more information on the blind hockey discipline, click here.
(NHL.com photo)

NTDP 2021 Evaluation Camp Dates Announced

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Evaluation Camp will take place May 9-13 at USA Hockey Arena 
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – USA Hockey announced it will stage its 2021 National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp May 9-13 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. The camp will feature top American born players born in 2005 and include on-ice games, practices and off-ice training.

A full camp roster and schedule will be announced at a later date. The NTDP Evaluation Camp returns to Michigan after the 2020 camp was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.     

ABOUT THE NTDP: USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program is playing in its 24th season of competition and is based at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The goal of the full-time development program is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams and success in their future hockey careers. Its efforts focus not only on high-caliber participation on the ice but creating well-rounded individuals off the ice.
(USA Hockey photo)

2021 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships Begin Thursday

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High School and Adult Men’s Tournaments Open Slate of Championships 
 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The 2021 Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championships begin Thursday (April 15) in suburban Omaha, Neb., with the High School tournaments taking center stage.Featuring three divisions, including Division I (for single-school teams), Division II (for teams comprised of players from multiple high schools) and, for the third consecutive year, a Girls Division, the High School tournaments will be held at Ralston Arena and Moylan Iceplex in Omaha, along with select games being played at John Breslow Ice Hockey Center in Lincoln, Neb. As part of USA Hockey Nationals, some 4,000 players will compete for American hockey top honors in the youth, girls, high school and adult levels at various host sites across the United States between now and early May.

USA Hockey, in conjunction with HockeyTV, will stream all the action online. Games are available live and on-demand by visiting USAHockey.HockeyTV.com

Adult Men’s Nationals kick off action this week as well, in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The tournament will host the Adult Women’s Nationals the following week.  

USA Hockey will provide news stories, scoring, stats, standings and photos from all of the action on Nationals.USAHockey.comand USAHockey.com/adultnationals. Fans can follow all of the action from each tournament on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the #USAHNationals hashtag. 

2021 USA Hockey National Championship Locations and Dates
 High School Omaha, Nebraska April 15-19, 2021

Youth Tier I 14U, 15 Only Dallas, Texas April 28-May 3, 2021  

Youth Tier I 16U, 18U Maryland Heights, Missouri April 28-May 3, 2021

Youth Tier II 14U Dallas, Texas April 29-May 3, 2021

Youth Tier II 16U Grand Rapids, Michigan April 29-May 3, 2021

Youth Tier II 18U Green Bay, Wisconsin April 29-May 3, 2021

Girls Tier I 14U, 16U, 19U West Chester, Pennsylvania April 29-May 3, 2021

Girls Tier II 14U, 16U, 19U Denver, Colorado  April 29-May 3, 2021

Adult Men’s Wesley Chapel, Florida April 15-18, 2021

Adult Women’s Wesley Chapel, Florida April 22-25,2021

NOTES:  A list of previous USA Hockey national championships dating back to 1938 can be found here … For more information about the 2021 USA Hockey National Championships, click here

Sabres Name Karmanos Associate GM

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Three-time Stanley Cup-winner will serve as general manager of the Rochester Americans

(Rochester, NY) – The Buffalo Sabres announced that the team has named Jason Karmanos associate general manager.

In his role, Karmanos will serve as the general manager of the AHL’s Rochester Americans and will oversee the Sabres’ scouting, player development and analytics departments. 

A native of Orchard Lake, Michigan, Karmanos spent the past six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he served as the assistant general manager for three seasons. He was the club’s vice president of hockey operations prior to that. 

In his roles with Pittsburgh, Karmanos spearheaded the revamping of the Penguins’ use of hockey analytics to assist management in their decision-making process.

He was also a member of the Carolina Hurricanes’ front office from 1998-2013 and served as an assistant general manager for 13 of those seasons. 

Karmanos, 46, has been part of three Stanley Cup championships. He won with Carolina in 2006 and with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams was an alternate captain on the 2005-06 Hurricanes. Adams and Karmanos were also teammates on the United States’ 1994 World Junior Championship team. 

Before becoming a hockey executive, Karmanos played four seasons at Harvard, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors. He played one season for the Raleigh Ice Caps of the ECHL in 1996-97, but an eye injury ended his playing career.

OJHL Ends Season

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ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE FORMALLY ANNOUNCES THE CANCELLATION OF THE 2020-2021 SEASON
‘2020-2021 season comes to an unfortunate closure due to Covid-19’
Mississauga, ON – The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) announced that the league’s Board of Governors have voted in favour to cancel the 2020-2021 season.  With the Province of Ontario currently under a 28-day Stay at Home order, and the official 2020-2021 Hockey Canada season ending on May 31, 2021, the league has declared an end to its OJHL season.
In August 2020, the OJHL developed a comprehensive “Return to the Rink” procedural plan with strict protocols which were presented and approved by the OHF for Junior hockey to be used in each of the leagues under the OHA. These protocols have been followed for all of the exhibition play within the association that have taken place this season with tremendous success and safety of all those who were able to participate. 
Although a significant amount of diligent planning, preparation and consultation with relevant medical professionals has taken place to date, the current Stay at Home order, due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, has resulted in additional operational challenges for the league to undertake a successful season for all of its teams. That includes some municipalities moving to remove ice in their facilities with the announcement of the recent Provincial Covid 19 restrictions.
“Week after week, the OJHL has adjusted the league plan with the goal of getting any type of possible season in for our players,” said OJHL Commissioner, Marty Savoy. “With Ontario currently in a 28-day Stay at Home order and the end of the Hockey Canada season fast approaching, the league’s Board of Governors have made the very difficult decision to officially conclude the 2020-2021 OJHL season and turn our attention and planning for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.  While this past year has been difficult for everyone, our immediate focus is to lean in to our 2021-2022 planning with a continued focus on health & safety, along with exciting operational enhancements we have been working towards for our league, which we will have details on soon.”
To date, only 6 OJHL member clubs have been able to conduct a total of 58 exhibition games this season due to regional Public Health Unit regulations and restrictions. The OJHL is proud of the results of gameplay and operations in those regions where no spread of Covid was detected in and among the rinks and teams playing each other. 
While the season is being concluded, the league also announced that once the current “Stay at Home” orders are lifted, teams which are permitted to play and able to do so within their respective Regional Health Unit, will be allowed to conduct exhibition play together with the continued approval process the league has implemented along with its strict Covid-19 operating protocols.
“The OJHL has studied every possible scenario to get our players back on the ice and, unfortunately, with the current state of the pandemic and provincial guidelines, we are unable to conduct the 2020-2021 season,”stated OJHL Chairman Marc Mercier.  “As a Governor of a team within the league, I realize the disappointment and impact this decision has on our players.  The league will continue to look at other possible programming for our teams and players, however the official 2020-2021 season has been concluded and all of our attention has been set upon a safe and exciting upcoming season. On behalf of our Governors, our board of Directors and our players, we’d like to thank the tireless efforts of our frontline workers, our sponsors, volunteers and most importantly, our fans. We’re all looking forward to our Province healing and coming together very soon to play the game we love”

Amerks Sign Three To Pro Tryouts

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(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans announced that the team has signed forwards Brent Gates and Brendan Warren and goaltender Stefanos Lekkas to Professional Tryouts (PTO).

Gates, 23, joins the Amerks after splitting the 2020-21 season with the Indy Fuel and Tulsa Oilers (ECHL), recording 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists in 35 games. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound forward has also notched an assist in two games with the San Diego Gulls (AHL) this season.

During the 2019-20 campaign between the Gulls and Oilers, Gates combined for 14 goals and 11 assists for 25 points in 45 contests. Gates ranked second among all Tulsa rookies in goals (10) while finishing second in both assists (10) and points (20) in 25 games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second-year pro has appeared in 28 career AHL games with the Gulls, totaling eight points (5+3) while also adding 41 points (18+23) over 60 contests with Tulsa.

Prior to turning pro, the Grand Rapids, Mich., native completed a four-year collegiate career at the University of Minnesota (Big-10), where he registered 85 points (42+43) in 148 games with the Gophers from 2015-2019. As team captain during his senior season, Gates finished third on the team with 18 assists and 31 points, both career-highs. In addition to being a three-time member of the All Big-10 Academic team, he helped Minnesota win two-straight Big-Ten regular-season champions in 2016 and 2017.

Gates was originally drafted in third-round (80th overall) by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Warren, 23, comes to Rochester after starting the 2020-21 campaign with the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL), recording 21 points (8+13) in 39 games. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound forward ranks fourth among all Icemen skaters with 13 assists and 21 points while being fifth on the club in goals (8).

As a rookie with Jacksonville last season, Warren represented the Icemen at the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic. He finished tied for team-lead in goals (14) among all first-year skaters and second in points (28) and fourth in assists (14) in 47 games.

Prior to turning pro, the Carleton, Mich., native completed a four-year collegiate career at the University of Michigan (NCAA), where he registered 45 points (18+27) in 149 games with the Wolverines from 2015-2019. As a Freshman, Warren helped the maize and blue claim the Big-10 Conference Championship while skating in all 38 games and registering 17 points (5+12).

Warren was originally drafted in third-round (81st overall) by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Lekkas, 25, returns for his second stint with the Amerks after making 25 saves in his AHL debut against Syracuse on March 26. He began the 2020-21 season with the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL), posting a 7-2-2 record with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 11 games. The 6-foot, 200-pound netminder currently leads all ECHL rookie goaltenders in goals-against average while ranking third in wins and fourth in save percentage.

Prior to turning pro, the Elburn, Illinois, native completed a four-year collegiate career at the University of Vermont (H-East), where he finished with a 45-69-20 career record and made 3,913 saves, the most in Hockey East history and fifth-most in NCAA history. As a junior, he appeared in all 34 games while posting a 2.27 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage en route to earning Hockey East Second All-Star Team honors.

He left Vermont after 134 games with the Catamounts, the second-most in program history by a goaltender, ranking first in save percentage (.918), third in goals-against average (2.61) and fourth in wins (45) and shutouts (7).

Prior to joining Vermont, Lekkas played three seasons with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League, backstopping the team its second Clark Cup championship in 2015 after leading league with nine postseason wins.