Canisius College hockey adds five new recruits for upcoming season
Forwards Ralph Cuddemi (Concord, Ontario) and Stephen Miller (Boxborough, Mass.), defenders Matthew Backhouse (Thompson, Manitoba) and Chris Rumble (Chesapeake, Va.) and goaltender Adam Harris (Penticton, British Columbia) join 22 returning student-athletes to form the 2012-13 squad.
"We had a very young team last year," Smith said. "So these freshmen went through a selective process to add specific needs to our team. Collectively, they possess great character, size and passion for the game. All of those attributes will not only enhance our current roster but also add to the future success of Canisius hockey."
Cuddemi joins the Griffs after spending the 2011-12 campaign with the Mississauga Chargers of the OJHL. The Concord, Ontario native led the team in scoring with 63 points, netting 27 goals to go along with 36 assists in 46 games. Recording more than 100 points in his two seasons in the OJHL, Cuddemi was named to the South Division All-Star Team that competed in the 2011 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge.
"Ralph will be looked at as a skilled forward," Smith said. "He has a great right shot and is excellent in the offensive zone."
A member of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs during the 2011-12 season, Miller helped the team win the EJHL Championship last year. He totaled 61 points on 22 goals and 39 assists and was named to the EJHL All-Star Team that competed in the 2011 Junior Club World Cup in Russia.
"Stephen is a big, strong power forward with excellent hands," Smith said. "He reminds me a lot of (current Griff) Taylor Law and we expect similar things out of him."
Backhouse spent the 2011-12 season with the Humboldt Broncos of the SJHL. The defender totaled 31 points on three goals and 28 assists and helped lead the Broncos to the RBC Cup by winning the Canalta and Anavet Cups. Backhouse also competed in the RBC Cup during the 2009-10 campaign with the Dauphin Kings.
"Matthew played in two Canadian National Championships at the junior level," Smith said. "We are looking for him to bring that winning experience along with his great size and skating ability to our program."
Rumble played two seasons with the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL. The defender totaled 40 points, 10 goals and 30 assists in 53 games with the Wild and was a two-time participant in the league's all-star game.
"Having missed the 2011-12 season, we'll take some time for Chris to get acclimated to the tempo and pace of the college game," Smith said. "We are excited for his stick skills and grit and he is capable of playing in all situations."
Harris was a member of the Selkirk Steelers of the MJHL during the 2011-12 campaign. Named the team's MVP and a finalist for the MJHL Goaltender of the Year, Harris posted a 23-9-1 record to go along with a 2.75 goals against average and .923 save percentage.
"As a team MVP, Adam comes into a competitive situation with two returners," Smith said. "His athleticism and IQ in the net are both excellent."
The Griffs return 22 letterwinners this year from the 2011-12 season, including 93.6 percent of their scoring.