COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus Cottonmouths
of the Southern Professional Hockey League today announced the signing of defensemen Tom Maldonado and Bret Tyler for the 2012-13 season. Both players were staples on the Columbus blue line last year and integral parts of the team that captured the SPHL championship.
Maldonado, 27, will begin his fifth professional season and third season (second full season) with the Snakes. He had a very successful collegiate career at Middlebury College in Vermont where he led his entire team in scoring his freshman and senior seasons and was the top-scoring defenseman on the team three out of four years. Maldonado scored 105 points (23G, 82A) in 118 games at Middlebury. He was honored with the Joe Concannon Award after his senior year, which recognizes the top American-born hockey player playing in a New England Division II or III school. The 5'9", 185-pounder from the Bronx, N.Y. has picked up 114 points (25G, 79A) in 227 pro games played with the Snakes; Missouri, New Mexico, and Tulsa in the CHL; and two stints overseas in Germany and the Netherlands. He is considered a veteran under current SPHL rules. His best season was last year, where his 31 points (5G, 26A) were a career high, second-best among all Snakes defenders, and seventh among all SPHL defensemen.
Bret Tyler will also be skating in his fifth professional season this year and third in Columbus. He played Division I collegiate hockey for the Maine Black Bears and led all defensemen in scoring each of his four seasons there and was the second-highest scoring defenseman in Hockey East in 2006-07. Tyler finished with 89 points (27G, 62A) in 143 total games at Maine, helping lead the Black Bears to the NCAA semifinals (the "Frozen Four") in both 2006 and 2007. Tyler played his rookie professional season with Las Vegas in the ECHL before playing the next season in Missouri in the CHL alongside Maldonado and former ECHL Cottonmouth Carlyle Lewis. He joined the Snakes in 2010-11 and has led all Cottonmouth defensemen in scoring each of the past two seasons. Tyler was named to the All-SPHL second team last season as his 46 points (6G, 40A) were third among all SPHL defensemen. In all, Bret has amassed 104 points off 16 goals and 88 assists in 186 total games played professionally.
"Bret and Tommy have been a one-two punch for us over the last couple of years," said Snakes head coach and general manager Jerome Bechard. "They were very instrumental in us bringing home the Cup last year. They are both great puck-moving defensemen who bring a lot of offense to the table and are responsible in our own end as well. We are very excited to have them both back for us to defend the SPHL championship."