BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington PrairieThunder hockey team acquired the rights to 16 players Tuesday during the United Hockey League's dispersal draft and expansion draft at Detroit, Mich.
The PrairieThunder picked up five players in the dispersal draft and 11 in the expansion draft. Three of the acquisitions are former Peoria Rivermen, while four are former National Hockey League draft choices.
Players were available through the dispersal draft from the final 2005-06 rosters of the Motor City Mechanics, Missouri River Otters and Roanoke Valley Vipers, all formerly of the UHL. As an expansion club, the PrairieThunder chose first in each round.
With the first pick, Bloomington chose center and former Rivermen player Adam Edinger. A fifth-round NHL draft pick by the New York Islanders in 1997, Edinger played 63 games with the Rivermen during the 2003-04 season. Most recently, Edinger captained the Motor City Mechanics, and played in 73 games last season, recording 51 goals and 26 assists.
"We were able to establish a talented veteran core during the dispersal draft and are excited to have one of the most talented players in the league in Adam Edinger," general manager Jerry McBurney said.
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The PrairieThunder used the first pick of the second round to acquire defenseman Chris Bogas, another former Rivermen and a sixth-round NHL draft pick by Toronto in 1996. Bogas played in 66 games for the Rivermen during in 2004-05, and 65 games for the Motor City Mechanics last year.
In the expansion draft, Bloomington acquired the rights to former Rivermen player Jason Lawmaster, who played with Peoria in 2002-03. Most recently, Lawmaster was a member of the Muskegon Fury.
Jeff Brown, a defensive specialist and the PrairieThunder's pick in round three of the dispersal draft, was the first-round pick of the New York Rangers in 1996. Also acquired by the PrairieThunder in the dispersal draft were enforcer Simon Rizk and forward Gray Shaneberger, both formerly of the Roanoke Valley Vipers.
The PrairieThunder selected four goaltenders in the expansion draft in Derek Gustafson, Jayme Platt, Jeff Reynaert and Jeremy Symington, a New York Islanders eighth-round NHL draft selection in 1997. Other players acquired in the expansion draft were forward Thomas Clayton, defensemen R.C. Lyke and Steve Pelletier, forward Josh Piro, left wing Josh Tataryn and forward Chad Wilcox.
"Chris Bogas and Jeff Brown also bring talent, experience and leadership, and were perfect selections given our strategy of building the PrairieThunder through goaltending and defense," McBurney said.
Season tickets for the PrairieThunder's inaugural season are available by calling (309) 434-2664.