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08/07/2007 10:27 AM
Held Returns While Team Also Adds Former USHL Scoring Champ

SOUTHAVEN, MS — The Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League have re-signed center Ryan Held and signed forward Dan Riedel (rye DELL), the team announced today. Held and Riedel are the eighth and ninth players signed by the RiverKings for the 2007-2008 CHL campaign. RiverKings training camp opens October 8.

Held, 27, will be entering his second season with the RiverKings. Last season was the London, Ontario native’s second pro season, his first in North America, after playing his rookie season of 2005-2006 in Europe. Last season with the RiverKings, the 6-foot-one, 185 pound Held gave the team quality depth as he centered the third line and finished with 19 goals and 18 assists while playing in all 64 games.

“We had a good season last year, but didn’t get a chance to finish it (in the postseason),” Held said. “It looks like Mac (Head Coach Kevin McClelland) is putting together a great team for this season. I am excited to be coming back to try and finish what we started last year.”

Held really shined in the final month and a half of the 2006-2007 regular season. The former University of Western Ontario standout scored 10 goals in a 12 game period from February 13 to March 17, including a stretch of five goals in four games. Overall, Held finished last season scoring 12 goals in the final 18 regular season games.

“It took me a little while to break in and get used to the league,” Held said. “Towards the end of the season, I started to play better, I saw more ice time and the puck started going in the net.”

Prior to signing with the RiverKings last season, Held played in the top league in the Netherlands in 2005-2006 and led the Geleen Smoke Eaters in scoring with 30 goals and 24 assists in 35 games. During his four year career at the University of Western Ontario from 2001-2005, Held totaled 48 goals and 60 assists for 108 points in 90 career games. He was a ninth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Draft.

“During the offseason, I have been working on getting stronger to make it more difficult for opposing players to push me off the puck,” Held said. “I am looking to come into training camp, play well and maybe take on a bigger role with this year’s team.”

Riedel, 22, led the United States Hockey League (USHL) in overall scoring in 2004-2005 during his second season with the Lincoln Stars. The USHL is the top U.S. based junior hockey league. His 81 points (30 goals and 51 assists) were 10 points more than the next closest player and helped to earn him the USHL’s CCM Forward of the Year Award. In 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, he played NCAA Division I college hockey at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. In his freshman season with the Bulldogs, the 5-foot-9, 193 pound Riedel was third on the team with 31 points (11 goals/20 assists) in 34 games and was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Rookie of the Year.

“Larry Sterling (RiverKings goalie in 2006-2007) is a very good friend of mine and I skate with him during the summer,” Riedel said. “He told me how competitive the team was last season. He put me in touch with (RiverKings) Head Coach McClelland and the next thing I know I was signed. It was a pretty easy decision.”

Last season, Riedel left FSU midway through the season to start his pro hockey career. He signed to play in the ECHL with the Phoenix Roadrunners and then was consequently traded to the Toledo Storm and then the Pensacola Ice Pilots.
In a combined 29 games with the three teams, he had a goal and three assists.

“I don’t know if I was necessarily ready to leave the FSU team midway through last season,” Riedel said. “Mentally, it was tough starting my pro career like that, but I felt it was also beneficial in regards to learning how to be a pro player.”

After bouncing around between the three ECHL teams last season to start his pro career, Riedel says he is looking for some stability.

“The tough part for me bouncing around was that it made it hard to fit in with a team, especially with it being later in the season,” he said. “I am looking forward to playing on a line with the same guys and hopefully put up some numbers this year.”

Riedel’s junior hockey career also included two seasons with the Springfield Junior Blues of the North American Hockey League in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. In his first season in the NAHL, the Rochester Hills, MI native led the Junior Blues, as well as all NAHL rookies, in scoring with 67 points and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. Midway through the 03-04 season, he moved up to the USHL and the Stars.

The addition of Riedel and Held gives the RiverKings nine players signed so far for the 2007-2008 season.

RIVERKINGS SIGNED PLAYERS Ryan Campbell LW Louis Dumont (vet) C Ryan Held C Derek Landmesser (vet) D Jason Lawmaster (vet) D Brian Mullally D David Nimmo C Dan Riedel F

Chad Woollard (vet) F

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