Central New York was Very Well Represented in the SPHL Presidents Cup Final

By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) has a new champion as the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs won the 2023 Presidents Cup on Tuesday night by defeating the Birmingham Bulls 2-1 in overtime. The Rail Yard Dawgs won the best-of-five games series three games to one.

The ten-team SPHL is a single A-level league mostly based in the southern United States. The league has no official affiliations with the ECHL or AHL, but some of its players have found their way to the ranks of both leagues. Central New York and its neighboring regions were especially well represented on both teams in this season’s Presidents Cup Final.

Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs

  • Head Coach Dan Bremner (Oswego St.). Bremner played one season at Oswego St. (2010-11) and took over as the Head Coach of the Rail Yard Dawgs at the start of the 2018-19 season. The 2023 Presidents Cup is his first championship as a coach.
  • Josh Nenadal (Oswego St.). Nenadal played one season at Oswego St. (2018-19) and this is his fourth season with the Rail Yard Dawgs. In the 2022-23 regular season, he had thirteen goals and thirteen assists to go with fifty PIM in forty-five games. In his nine playoff games, he had three goals, three assists, and six PIM.
  • Alex Dicarlo (Oswego St.). DiCarlo joined the Rail Yard Dawgs this season after finishing a three-year career at Oswego. In ten regular season games for Roanoke, he had three goals and four assists. In eight playoff games, he recorded one goal and one assist.
  • Nick DeVito (Morrisville St.). DeVito finished a four-year career at Morrisville after the 2019-20 season, and this is his second season with the Rail Yard Dawgs. He was very good for Roanoke in 2022-23, in fifty-four regular season games, he had twelve goals and twenty-four assists for thirty-six points. In the playoffs, he took his game to the next level. In nine games he had six goals and five assists, including the first playoff hat trick in Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs history against Perioa.
  • CJ Stubbs (Morrisville St.). Stubbs completed his four-year career at Morrisville at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season and has just completed his third season with Roanoke. He was outstanding for the Rail Yard Dawgs in 2022-23 – in forty-eight regular season games, he recorded ten goals and thirty-seven assists, just missing a point per game pace. In the playoffs, Stubbs had two goals and four assists in nine games.
  • Brody Claeys (Utica Comets). Rail Yard Dawgs goaltender Brody Claeys made a very brief appearance in Central New York this season, as he signed an ATO contract with the Utica Comets in March that lasted two days. He dressed for one game with the Comets, backing up Issac Poulter in a March 5th game against Syracuse.
From Episode #33 recorded on April 26th, 2023, here is former Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs and Berglund Center PA announcer Roy Chambers giving an update on the SPHL President’s Cup Playoffs! He also discusses the Central New York college (Oswego, Morrisville, and Utica) players and coaches in the league!

Birmingham Bulls

  • Michael Gillespie (Oswego St.). Gillespie finished a three-year career at Oswego St. and joined the Bulls season. Gillespie was sensational during the 2022-23 season, in thirty-eight games played he had twenty-seven goals and thirty-three assists for sixty points. He was tied for second overall in the SPHL in goals and he was named to the all-SPHL first team. In the playoffs, he had three goals and two assists in six games.
  • Scott Donahue (Cortland St.). Donahue played one season for Cortland in 2017-18 and is a four-season veteran of the SPHL. He had seventeen goals and nine assists in thirty-six games this regular season, and four goals to go with two assists in ten playoff games.
  • Ryan Romeo (Brockport). Romeo completed a four-year career at Brockport in 2021-22 and this was his first season in the SPHL. In thirty-two regular season games for the Bulls, the defenseman had two goals and eleven assists. In the playoffs, he recorded one goal and three assists in ten games.
  • Hayden Stewart (Cornell). Goaltender Hayden Stewart finished his four-year career at Cornell in 2017-18 and has bounced between the ECHL and SPHL ever since. In twenty-two regular season games for the Bulls in 2022-23, he had a record of 12-8-1, with a 2.71 GAA, 0.905 save percentage, and three shutouts. In the playoffs, his record was 2-1-1, with a GAA of 2.01, a 0.932 save percentage, and one shutout. He scored a goal against Evansville on March 18th, becoming the first netminder in the history of the SPHL to do so.

For more information about the SPHL, visit https://thesphl.com. The official Twitter page of the league can be found at @SPHL.

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