Two Newfoundlanders who finished their collegiate hockey careers last spring are looking to turn pro this fall in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Forwards Scott Trask of Bonavista and Shayne Morrissey of St. John’s are attending the training camps of the Huntsville Havoc and Pensacola Ice Flyers, respectively. Trask is operating on a tryout agreement, while Morrissey has signed a contract with the Ice Flyers.
The 24-year-old Trask spent the last four years attending and playing for Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., after a junior career that saw him appear in 174 games for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats.
Morrissey, 25, played for four years at Neumann University, an NCAA Division 3 school in Pennsylvania.
If the AHL can be considered minor hockey’s AAA circuit and the ECHL is AA, then the SPHL — with 10 teams stretching from Peoria, Ill., to Fayetteville, N.C., to Pensacola on the Gulf Coast — might be considered as A level.
Many players move up from the SPHL to the ECHL, a few have made it to the AHL and one — goalie Scott Darling — even climbed all the way to the NHL.
And while he is not a player, you might also count Mount Pearl’s Dave Roper as one who worked his trade in the Southern league prior to getting to the NHL.
Two years ago, Roper was the equipment manager for the SPHL’s Louisiana IceGators, who no longer operate. After a year in the ECHL with the Norfolk Admirals, Roper now finds himself part of the training staff for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.