ECHL: Jacksonville Icemen Training Camp Preview

It’s October, Icemen fans, and that means hockey season has finally arrived. With the regular season now just a couple weeks out, teams are beginning to prepare for the upcoming grind and have started training camp. The Jacksonville Icemen announced their plans for camp on Friday, with the action starting early on Sunday, October 8. Training camp will go through Thursday, October 19, including two preseason games against the Savannah Ghost Pirates. The 2023-24 training camp roster features the mix of both new and veteran talent the Icemen front office has put together this off-season. Camp should provide a great look at how the refreshed Icemen roster comes together on the ice, though on paper, the team shows a fairly balanced mix of size and skill, with grit adding to the depth chart. Five Icemen players are currently attending training camps in the American Hockey League; four of those five participating in the Icemen’s AHL affiliate Rochester Americans’ training camp.

Full Icemen Training Camp Roster:
(* designates a PTO/TO)

Forwards:
8 – Michael Turner
11 – Victor Hadfield
16 – Derek Lodermeier
19 – Matheson Iacopelli
21 – Easton Brodzinski
26 – Nick Isaacson
29 – Craig Martin
41 – Carson Mackinnon
45 – Logan Cockerill
51 – Garrett Van Whye
83 – Brendan Harris
9 – Bailey Conger*
23 – Justin Cmunt*
39 – Steven Leonard*

Defense:
3 – Jack Van Boekel
7 – Connor Russell
14 – Chays Ruddy
15 – Jacob Panetta
18 – Garret Cockerill
28 – Ivan Chukarov
4 – Sean Leonard*

Goalies:
31 – Joe Murdaca

Oh, Brother:

Four current Icemen players are attending camp with one of their big brother clubs, the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Defenseman Julian Kislin is joined by forwards Chris Grando, Luke Bignell, and Dominick Mersch.

Dominick Mersch (left) and Michael Mersch (right) skated as linemates in the American Hockey League preseason game at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. (Photo: Micheline V/Rochester Americans)

Mersch, a rookie forward signed by the Icemen this August, is joining his own big brother at the Amerks’ camp. Older brother Michael is the current Captain of the Rochester squad, and the brothers recently spoke on getting the potential chance to play with one another at the AHL level, with Michael saying, “From a family standpoint, it’s great. We’re six years apart, so this is really the first chance we’ve ever had to be on a team together. It’s super special, and we’re both so grateful to have this opportunity.” The duo recently linked up for a goal in an Amerks’ preseason game, with Dominick registering an assist on a Michael goal.

Like Father, Like Son:

Matt Vernon chats with Wranglers’ goalie coach, Mackenzie Skapski. Credit: Calgary Wranglers

Newest addition to the Icemen goaltending group, Matt Vernon, is attending camp with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers, the NHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Vernon’s father, Mike Vernon, tended the net in Calgary for years, defending the Flames’ crease during the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs and earning a Stanley Cup victory. Vernon is looking to hopefully blaze his own trail to the NHL and states he’s aiming to model his game after recent Flames’ goaltending standout Dustin Wolf. “I really want to showcase my athleticism at camp. I look at what Dustin Wolf has been doing here for the last few years, and I want to play my game similar to him.”

All Icemen training camp and preseason action is set to take place at the Community First Igloo, including the two preseason games against the Ghost Pirates. Those games are scheduled for Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14, a 7:00 p.m. game start set for both games. A full training camp schedule can be found below.

Sunday, October 8
10:30 am Practice
Monday, October 9
10:30 am Practice
Tuesday, October 10
10:30 am Practice
Wednesday, October 11
10:30 am Practice
Thursday, October 12
10:30 am Practice
Friday, October 13
10:00 am Morning Skate
7:00 pm Preseason game vs. Savannah
Saturday, October 14
10:00 am Morning Skate
7:00 pm Preseason game vs. Savannah
Sunday, October 15
Day Off
Monday, October 16
8:45 am Practice
Tuesday, October 17
9:00 am Practice on Camper’s RV Rink
Wednesday, October 18
10:30 am Practice
Thursday, October 19
10:30 am Practice

Stay up to date on all of the Icemen preseason coverage by checking in on Inside The Rink, as the ITR team will be covering the all the happenings around Icemen training camp.

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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