Toledo Storm officials announced yesterday that they are bringing back "a junkyard dog" who loves to hit and a rugged player who has a nose for the net.
Instigator Mike James and physical goal-scorer Shawn Collymore both re-signed to play for the Storm.
James, a 23-year-old left winger, came to Toledo late last season in a trade with Johnstown that eventually sent the rights to defenseman Doug Andress and forward Steve Slonina to the Chiefs. James scored 11 goals and had 19 assists with 207 penalty minutes in 58 games with Johnstown. He tallied one goal with three assists while posting 28 penalty minutes in 11 games with the Storm.
"He's a big, talented hockey player who can be a pest," said Storm coach Nick Vitucci. "That is the reason why we traded for him. We needed someone like that."
Storm general manager and vice president Mike Miller said James never takes a shift off.
"He is one of those players that you hate to play against, but you love him if he is on your team," Miller said. "He's in your face, loves to hit and goes hard to the net."
The GM said James plays with a huge amount of intensity and heart.
"He's exactly the type of player that people here in Toledo like," Miller said. "He's always in the middle of everything."
James gets under opponents' skin and draws retaliation penalties, according to both Vitucci and Miller.
"He spends a little time in the sin bin," Miller said. "Jamesy will fight and he can handle himself."
James, who is a native of Windsor, Ont., has many friends and family who often travel to the Sports Arena to watch him play.
Collymore, a 22-year-old right winger from Quebec, was voted the Storm's most improved player last season.
Collymore was limited to 49 games due to various injuries and scored seven goals with 12 assists.
"Everyone is anxious to see what he can do if he plays a whole season," Miller said. "He had a rough season injury-wise."
During his junior career, Collymore scored 114 goals with 154 assists. He was selected in the fifth round (139th overall) of the NHL entry draft by the New York Rangers in 2001. But he did not sign with the Rangers and played four years of junior hockey before being invited to the Detroit Red Wings' rookie training camp last year.
"Nick saw him up there and he really liked him," Miller said. "He has a good nose for the net."
Vitucci, who also is the team's director of player personnel, said Collymore is a rugged hockey player with a history of having high point production.
"He is physical and he is intelligent," Vitucci said.
"He goes out and looks to score. But he also has size, strength and throws the body real well."
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