Dayton, OH- The Dayton Gems
Ownership Group, proud member of the Central Hockey League announced today that the Gems will be bringing back seven players from last season's roster. Those players are Goaltender Derek MacIntyre, Defenseman Greg Labenski, Defenseman Nathan Oke, Defenseman Matt Szypura, Right Winger Matt Smyth (Pronounced Smithe) and Left Wingers Tim Hartung and Corey Couturier.
"After doing my due diligence on the team from last year, we feel that these individuals can continue to develop and contribute to the future success of the Dayton Gems
," said Head Coach and General Manager Brian Gratz. "In Greg Labenski, we are bringing back a Veteran who can contribute experience and intelligence as a hockey player as well as provide leadership on and off the ice."
Labenski, 32, returns for his second season with the Gems. Last season, he led the team in plus/minus and had 27 points (5G, 22A) in 71 games played. Prior to joining the Gems, Labenski spent three years with the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL. In 2006-07 he helped Captain the Bombers to the Kelly Cup Finals. Labenski has played in the playoffs all but two years of his professional career (2008-09, 2009-10) and wears his number 27 in honor of his twin daughters being born on January 27th.
Szypura, 26, Comes off of his first season in Dayton having played in 51 games, scoring nine points (2G, 7A) and accumulating 16 penalty minutes. In four of those 51 games played, Szypura had a rating of +2; coincidentally the Gems were 3-1 in those games. In 2008, Szypura was the recipient of the Don Joseph Award for Most Improved Player while playing for the University of Wisconsin River Falls Falcons.
Oke, 25, was one of the Gems most physical players last season, averaging a penalty minute per game. He finished the 2009-10 season with 13 points (1G, 12A) in 66 games and was nominated for IHL Player of the Week in December of 2009. The 6'1", 202 pound bruiser is known for his physical play on the boards and shoving away opposing forwards in front of his own net.
Smyth, 21, had a short stint with the Gems in the 2009-10 season, only playing in 13 games and scoring three goals after being acquired as part of a trade between Flint and Bloomington that sent former Gems forward Mike Olynyk to Flint in March. Smyth is still eligible to be considered a Rookie going into this season because he did not play a total of 60 games in the IHL last season. Back in 2008-09, Smyth recorded a career-high 106 points (51G, 55A) in only 51 games while playing for the Couchiching Terriers of the OJHL.
MacIntyre, 25, returns to Dayton after playing in 53 of the Gems 72 games last season between the pipes. He had a goals against average of 3.41, save percentage of .900 and three shutouts. At one point near the end of the 2009-10 season, MacIntyre started a tiring 23-straight games in net. Although his record (14-35-2) was not up to par, his skill level was. He stopped 40 shots or more three times and over 30 shots in 27 of his 53 games played. MacIntyre was originally selected by the San Jose Sharks
in the 8th round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Hartung, 26, is coming back for his second professional season after spending 57 games with the Gems in 2009-10. In those 57 games he scored 37 points on 13 goals and 24 assists. Hartung was nominated for IHL Player of the Week in February and had a career-high five assists in the Gems 7-4 win over Quad City in January. In his spare time, Hartung loves to golf and he is very good at it with only a 5-handicap.
Couturier, 25, also returns for his second professional season of hockey. He began the 2009-10 season with the Wheeling Nailers
of the ECHL before signing with the Gems for the remaining 56 games, which he scored 43 points on 13 goals and 30 assists. As a freshman at Ferris State in 2005-06, Couturier finished runner-up for top scoring honors amon g Bulldogs rookies.