As the puck drops on the 2015-2016 ECHL season, the Brampton Beast are ready to make a statement to the league that Canada's only ECHL isn't to be taken lightly this season.
Twenty-one players will represent the Beasts' roster this season, including two goalies, eight defensemen, and 11 forwards.
The roster from the team's official website:
Chris Auger - Two-Time 28-goal scorer with CHL/ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets
Luc-Olivier Blain - Won France2 scoring title in 2014-15 with 17 goals, 30 assists
Jeff Brown - Career point-per-game player with University of Toronto (2012-2015)
Scott Howes - 2011 ECHL Playoff MVP with Alaska Aces
Brandon Marino - 2014 ECHL Leading Scorer
Bryan McGregor - 2014-15 Czech2 Champion with Piráti Chomutov
Yannick Riendeau - Top scorer in Canadian Hockey League in 2009 with 126 points
Stephon Thorne - Former Brampton Battalion Captain in 2010-11
Yannick Tifu - Active leader in ECHL career points with 498
Cal Wild - 2014-15 ECHL Community Service Award Winner, Beast Team Captain
Stefan Fournier - The bruising forward split his time last season between the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Wheeling Nailers.
Jeremie Blain - Selected by Edmonton in Fourth Round of 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Travis Brown - Recorded 18 goals, 39 assists in 71 games with Victoria (WHL)
Justin DaCosta - Former Captain of Fife Flyers (EIHL), 2006-07 CIS All-Rookie Team
Guy Leboeuf - 61 games of ECHL experience, 14 games of AHL
Mathew Maione - Highest scoring rookie defense in ECHL in 2014-15 (14G, 29A)
Zach McCullough - Scored first pro goal last season in ECHL with Kalamazoo
Tim Billingsley - Four-year University career with Carleton (84GP, 8G, 38A)
Francis Meilleur - 124 games of ECHL experience with three different clubs
Eddie Pasquale - 112 games of AHL experience, 2011-12 AHL All-Rookie Team
Bryan Pitton - League-best save percentage of .934% with KH Sanok (Poland)
Of note, the 2014 ECHL scoring leader, Brandon Marino, will be playing with the Beast this season, as will the ECHL's active points leader, Yannick Tifu. There's a new boss behind the bench in Colin Chaulk.
There is optimism around this team. Yes, the ECHL is a tough league, and yes, the Beast earned 23 wins and 49 points, missing the playoffs last season. But this is a new year, a new team, and a new attitude.
The Beast's first opponents aren't pushovers. The Manchester Monarchs are the new ECHL affiliate of the LA Kings, who reassigned their entire farm system, moving the former AHL Manchester Monarchs to California to become the Ontario Reign.
The Monarchs have had a relatively impressive preseason. Winning one-of-two games against the Adirondack Thunder; a 3-2 loss, and 5-4 win, both going to overtime.
The Beast played only one preseason game, against Team India, which ended up with the two teams playing an inter-squad game for the better part of that historic international exhibition game.
It's going to be a tough season for the Beast. But with the roster in place, and the support from the community, there's no reason why Brampton can't make it to the Kelly Cup playoffs.