River Dragons Acquire Aldworth From Black Bears; Lose 4 Players In Second Expansion Draft

Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons are announcing changes to their roster from both the FPHL's second expansion draft of the offseason for the Mississippi Sea Wolves and the Elmira Mammoth, as well as a trade with the Binghamton Black Bears.

In an expansion draft conducted on June 1st, the Mississippi Sea Wolves and Elmira Mammoth each selected 12 players to start their roster filling process. The River Dragons lost two players to each team.

The Elmira Mammoth selected defenseman Preston Kugler and forward CJ Hayes as part of their 12-man list. Hayes last played for the Dragons in the 2019-20 season, appearing in 44 games and totaling 47 points (24G-23A). He has spent the last two seasons with the Birmingham Bulls of the SPHL and even saw time with the Newfoundland Growlers last season in the ECHL. Kugler, was a two-year member of the Dragons before moving to the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the SPHL. He appeared in a total of 33 games for Columbus across his two seasons.

The Mississippi Sea Wolves selected forward Nick DiNicola and defenseman Stephen Alvo for their 12-man roster. Both players have not appeared in games as a River Dragon but were on the team's loan list in the 21-22 season. Alvo was acquired via a trade midseason and spent the year in Birmingham. While DiNicola is currently overseas playing in the Italian Hockey League.

When the drafts were concluded, the River Dragons struck a deal with the Binghamton Black Bears to trade defenseman Jake Schultz for forward Thomas Aldworth and future considerations.

"I’d like to thank Jake for being a huge part of our organization and 2021 Championship team" team owner Jeff Croop said. "Unfortunately for the Dragons, but fortunately for [Jake], life happens and he needs to play closer to his home in New York. "I feel we received some fantastic assets in return, certainly this is a win-win-win for all teams and parties involved.”

Schultz was apart of the 2021 Ignite Cup championship team and appeared in 30 games as a River Dragon registering 27 points (9G-18A).

Aldworth comes to Columbus after spending his first year as a pro in Binghamton where he as just over a point per game player with 29 games and 30 points (13G-17A). He was part of a Black Bear core that helped them secure a playoff berth in their inaugural season in the FPHL. Prior to turning pro, Aldworth played four years of NCAA D1 hockey between Quinnipiac and Vermont.

The River Dragons now look forward to building up their roster ahead of the 2022-23 hockey season slated to start in October. A full schedule release is slated for Friday at 10am on the River Dragons website