ECHL: Icemen Sign Petruzzelli, Reveal Opening Night Roster

On Saturday night, the lights will rise on the first puck drop of the Jacksonville Icemen’s 2023-24 regular season. An all too familiar foe will once again show their face on Icemen home ice, once again the contending Kelly Cup Champions. It’s a scene that’s been set before, though; in the upcoming year, the Jacksonville Icemen have the power to rewrite how this one ends.

Before the action can get underway, there’s still a bit of roster housekeeping that has to occur, most notably setting the opening night roster. Earlier today, the team did just that, announcing the list of names set to take to the ice as Jacksonville Icemen Saturday night.

The opening night roster announcement comes on the heels of the news of another new addition to the Icemen line-up, forward Anthony Petruzzelli. Petruzzelli was recently released from the Guildford Flames of the Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom after signing with the team in July. The 30-year-old winger departed from the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL’s Central Division after spending the last five and a half seasons in Fort Wayne. Petruzzelli captained the team during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, posting a career year in 2021-22 with 27 goals and 30 assists for 57 points. His success didn’t taper off much last season, with the forward dressing in all 72 games for the Komets and registering 25 goals and 21 assists.

credit: Anthony Petruzzelli

Petruzzelli, 5’10”, 190 pounds, has appeared in 323 ECHL regular season contests over the course of his career. He’s collected 211 points (100g, 111a), hitting the 30-point mark for the past three seasons in a row. Petruzzelli’s seen production in the postseason as well, collecting 16 points in 47 career playoff games. In the Komets 2020-21 Kelly Cup playoff run, Petruzzelli added four assists in 13 games en route to winning the Kelly Cup.

Anthony Petruzzelli is just one of seven new forwards to join the Icemen forward group this offseason. Of the 15 forwards currently listed with the team, eight of them are returning names to the Icemen line-up. Forward Craig Martin will start the year on injured reserve, while rookie Dominick Mersch is currently away from the team on family leave. Nick Isaacson will start the year on reserves.

Forward group:

Christopher Brown
Chris Grando
Brendan Harris
Logan Cockerill
Riley Fiddler-Schultz
Damien Giroux
Matheson Iacopelli
Anthony Petruzzelli
Nick Isaacson
Derek Lodermeier
Michael Turner
Dominick Mersch
Carson Mackinnon
Craig Martin
Garrett Van Wyhe

There’s ten names that make up the Icemen’s defensive unit, though two of those names are on injured reserve to start the season. Newcomer Jack Van Boekel and veteran blueliner Brandon Fortunato are listed on IR to start the year. Meanwhile, Victor Hadfield, who can be slotted in at either a forward or defense role, is also listed on reserves to begin the season. Three of the seven defenseman available to the team will be suiting up for the Icemen for the first time, including top-touted Buffalo Sabres’ prospect Nicolas Savoie.

Defense group:

Garrett Cockerill
Julian Kislin
Ivan Chukarov
Chris Jandric
Brandon Fortunato
Jacob Panetta
Connor Russell
Jack Van Boekel
Nicolas Savoie
Victor Hadfield

It’s an all-new line-up in net with Joe Murdaca and Matt Vernon shoring up the Icemen crease. Murdaca, a veteran net presence, will provide the team an experienced option alongside newbie Matt Vernon. Vernon will take to the Icemen net with just two prior games of ECHL experience, both coming last year with the Reading Royals.

Jacksonville Icemen regular season action starts Saturday, October 21st, against the in-state rival Florida Everblades. The team will be hosting a “pink out” for cancer awareness initiatives. Action is set to kick-off at 7 pm.

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is a freelance hockey reporter covering the ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen for Inside The Rink and the Vancouver Canucks for The Canuck Way. His work has been featured on Hockey of Tomorrow and The Daily Faceoff, and can be found on Twitter/X @FromTheDrewLine.

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