Columbus Cottonmouths

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Columbus Cottonmouths
Columbus Cottonmouths logo.png
City Columbus, Georgia
League Southern Professional Hockey League
Founded 1996
Home arena Columbus Civic Center
Colors Blue, Yellow, Black
              
Owner(s) Wanda Amos, Jacob Amos
General manager Jerome Bechard
Head coach Jerome Bechard
Media SportsRadio 1580 The Zone
Franchise history
1996–present Columbus Cottonmouths
Championships
Regular season titles 5

The Columbus Cottonmouths are a professional ice hockey team based in Columbus, Georgia. The team is nicknamed the Snakes, and play their home games at the Columbus Civic Center.

History[edit]

Central Hockey League (CHL): 1996-2001[edit]

In 1996, the Columbus Cottonmouths started play in the Central Hockey League, joining the Macon Whoopee and Nashville Nighthawks as expansion entries that were originally slated to be in the Southern Hockey League before its demise in the summer of 1996. Along with the Memphis RiverKings, an established CHL franchise, and the Huntsville Channel Cats, the SHL champion in 1996 and the lone surviving franchise from that league, Columbus and the other two expansion SHL teams formed the new Eastern Division of the CHL in the 1996-97 season. In 1998, the team won the CHL championship, defeating the Wichita Thunder in a four-game sweep. The Cottonmouths were in the CHL playoffs each of their five seasons in the league, making it to the league finals in 2000 before losing to Indianapolis and in 2001 before falling to the Oklahoma City Blazers. In the summer of 2001, the CHL merged with the Western Professional Hockey League and geographic rivalries in Huntsville and Macon were lost, leading the Cottonmouths to seek and obtain entry into the East Coast Hockey League. DVA Sports, composed of owners Salvador Diaz-Verson and Shelby Amos, purchased the defunct Hampton Roads Admirals ECHL franchise, relocating it to Columbus under the Cottonmouths name and logo.

East Coast Hockey League (ECHL): 2001-2004[edit]

From 2001-2004 the Columbus Cottonmouths played in the ECHL, bringing with them their longtime Captain Jerome "Boom-Boom" Bechard and Head Coach Bruce Garber. In the three seasons that Columbus spent in the ECHL, they failed to make the playoffs. Mid-way through their second season in the ECHL, Garber, the only coach in team history, resigned. General Manager Phil Roberto took over for the remainder of the season. Their best season in the ECHL was their last. Prior to the 2003-04 season the team announced the signing of their new Coach, former NHL tough guy Brian Curran. They finished with a 37-27-8 record, tied with the Greensboro Generals for the best record by a non-playoff team that season. In April 2004, the Cottonmouths management announced their intentions to move their ECHL franchise to the Bradenton-Sarasota area in Florida. The team, which was later named the Gulf Coast Swords, would never come to fruition as financial setbacks delayed the construction of their to-be home arena. Finally, after foreclosure on the arena property and numerous delays, the ECHL revoked the Swords franchise in the league in the summer of 2006.

Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL): 2004-present[edit]

Since 2004 the Columbus Cottonmouths have played as a member of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Led by first year Coach, and Columbus hockey legend Jerome Bechard, the team won the inaugural SPHL championship in April 2005 by first winning a one game playoff against the Fayetteville FireAntz by a 4-2 score. They next swept the regular season champion Knoxville Ice Bears to advance to the league finals, which they won against the Macon Trax with two straight victories, ending with a 3-2 overtime win. The Snakes' victory capped an undefeated postseason in which they won five games without losing a single contest.

In 2006, the Cottonmouths finished with the second-best regular season record in the league but were ousted in the first round of the playoffs two games to one by the Huntsville Havoc.

In 2007 the Columbus team won the SPHL Commissioner's Cup as the team with the best season record, but was ousted in the first round of playoffs by the Jacksonville Barracudas, who won three games to the Cottonmouths' one victory.

In 2008, the Cottonmouths ironically relied on the team that would oust them from the playoffs to get them into the playoffs. On the last day of the regular season, the Knoxville Ice Bears defeated the Huntsville Havoc to give the Snakes the sixth and final playoff berth, which would pit them against first-place Knoxville. The home team won every contest of the best-of-five series with Columbus recovering from an 0-2 deficit with a pair of home wins before losing the deciding contest in Knoxville. The Snakes' 22-24-6 regular-season record was a Columbus hockey team's first losing record since 2002-03 and the first one by a non-ECHL

On April 14, 2012, the Cottonmouths won their second Presidents Cup championship with a two game sweep of Pensacola. The Snakes won Game 1 3-2 at home, Thursday 12 April. They then completed the Championship Seies with a 3-1 road victory over the Ice Flyers. The Cottonmouths went undefeated in the playoffs, 6-0.[1]

Year-by-year record[edit]

Central Hockey League[edit]

Year GP W L RT PTS Finish Playoffs
1996–97 66 32 28 6 70 4th, East Lost in Quarter Finals
1997–98 70 51 13 6 108 1st, East Won Levins Cup
1998–99 70 42 21 7 91 2nd, East Lost in Division Finals
1999–00 70 39 20 11 89 2nd, East Lost Miron Cup Finals
2000–01 70 41 21 8 90 2nd, East Lost Miron Cup Finals

East Coast Hockey League[edit]

Year GP W L RT PTS Finish Playoffs
2001–02 72 24 37 11 59 8th, Southeast Out of playoffs
2002–03 72 25 39 8 58 7th, Southeast Out of playoffs
2003–04 72 41 21 8 82 5th, Central Out of playoffs

Southern Professional Hockey League[edit]

Year GP W L OTL PTS Finish Playoffs
2004–05 56 30 26 - 60 5th Won President's Cup
2005–06 56 34 16 6 74 2nd Lost Quarter Finals
2006–07 56 36 18 2 74 1st Lost Quarter Finals
2007–08 52 22 24 6 50 6th Lost Quarter Finals
2008–09 60 31 22 7 69 2nd Lost Semi-Finals
2009–10 56 22 27 2 48 6th Lost First Round
2010–11 56 29 27 - 58 4th Lost Semi-Finals
2011–12 56 35 16 5 75 2nd Won President's Cup
2012-13 56 28 24 4 60 5th Lost Quarter Round

2012–13 Roster[edit]

# Player Pos Height Weight Date of Birth Hometown
1 Andrew Loewen G 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 195 lb (88 kg) (1985-02-20) February 20, 1985 (age 29) Winnipeg, Manitoba
2 Tom Maldonado D 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 185 lb (84 kg) (1985-02-24) February 24, 1985 (age 29) The Bronx, New York
4 Kevin Kessler D 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) (1985-10-28) October 28, 1985 (age 29) Marshfield, Massachusetts
7 Kyle Johnson D 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 200 lb (91 kg) (1988-11-12) November 12, 1988 (age 26) Edmonton, Alberta
9 John Sullivan RW 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 185 lb (84 kg) (1987-12-11) December 11, 1987 (age 27) Delmar, New York
10 Jordan Braid LW 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 200 lb (91 kg) (1989-07-29) July 29, 1989 (age 25) Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
11 Orrin Hergott LW 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) 160 lb (73 kg) (1982-06-15) June 15, 1982 (age 32) Humboldt, Saskatchewan
14 Biff McNally RW 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 200 lb (91 kg) (1983-05-07) May 7, 1983 (age 31) Ridgewood, New Jersey
17 Brett Hammmond LW 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 195 lb (88 kg) (1980-09-08) September 8, 1980 (age 34) Roseville, Minnesota
18 Alex MacLeod RW 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 215 lb (98 kg) (1987-12-16) December 16, 1987 (age 27) Nelson, British Columbia
19 Levi Lind LW 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) (1988-02-02) February 2, 1988 (age 26) Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
21 Matt Gingera LW 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 190 lb (86 kg) (1987-12-31) December 31, 1987 (age 26) Winnipeg, Manitoba
22 Derek Pallardy RW 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 175 lb (79 kg) (1983-07-16) July 16, 1983 (age 31) Chesterfield, Missouri
24 Sam Bowles C 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 190 lb (86 kg) (1985-01-25) January 25, 1985 (age 29) Davidsonville, Maryland
26 Jasoin Yuel RW 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 190 lb (86 kg) (1986-10-19) October 19, 1986 (age 28) Winnipeg, Manitoba
27 Tom Fitzpatrick D 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 195 lb (88 kg) (1987-10-14) October 14, 1987 (age 27) Fort McMurray, Alberta
28 Chris Bailer D 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 200 lb (91 kg) (1988-08-09) August 9, 1988 (age 26) Wetaskiwin, Alberta
40 Ian Vigler G 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) (1982-11-23) November 23, 1982 (age 32) Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Manitoba
42 Bret Tyler D 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 190 lb (86 kg) (1984-06-28) June 28, 1984 (age 30) Maynard, Massachusetts
Staff Name
Head Coach Jerome Bechard
Assistant Coach Brad Prefontaine
Trainer Ashley Landi
Equipment Manager Michael Slayton

Championships[edit]

Year League Trophy
2011–2012 SPHL President's Cup
2006–2007 SPHL Commissioner's Cup (Regular season Champion)
2004–2005 SPHL President's Cup
2000–2001 CHL Eastern Division Champions
1999–2000 CHL Eastern Division Champions
1997–1998 CHL William “Bill” Levins Memorial Cup
1997–1998 CHL Adams Cup (Regular season Champion)
1997–1998 CHL Eastern Division Champions

References[edit]

External links[edit]