Two more Knoxville Ice Bears players have recently been called up to play in higher leagues. Rookie forward Matt Pierce and defenseman Kevin Harris have both advanced to the East Coast Hockey League.
The call up process in hockey in slightly different than it is in baseball. For instance, the Smokies baseball team is affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. However, in hockey there are no direct associations between teams, and since the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) is the only one on this level, there are three leagues that will recruit players. Those leagues are the Central Hockey League (CHL), International Hockey League (IHL) and East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Some of the players receive temporary call ups, while others are permanent.
“We are extremely excited that our players are being recognized and called up for their skilled play. The feedback about Ice Bears players from coaches in higher leagues has been outstanding,” said head coach Scott Hillman.
Matt Pierce, who had eleven goals and five assists in 24 games with Ice Bears, was called up by the Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) on December 29, 2007. Pierce was expected to return to Knoxville yesterday, but after making quite an impression on the coaching staff in Charlotte, he will stay for a west coast road trip.
Kevin Harris will begin 2008 with the Pensacola Ice Pilots (ECHL). Harris, who scored four goals and 13 assists with the Ice Bears this season, is expected to play two games with the Ice Pilots. He has recently received other opportunities to move into higher leagues; however, this call up allows him to expand his resume and still finish the season in Knoxville.
The Knoxville Ice Bears play two away games before returning home on January 10. Visit www.knoxvilleicebears.com for more information.
Story Courtesy: The Knoxville Ice Bears