ODESSA, TX– In a pair of Thursday transactions, the Odessa Jackalopes traded defenseman Austin Ho to the North Division’s Springfield Jr. Blues and acquired sizeable goaltender Erick Majerle from the Brookings Blizzard of the NAHL’s Central Division. The Jacks received one 2013-14 tender contract in exchange for Ho and shipped one 2013 second-round NAHL draft pick and future considerations to the Blizzard in exchange for Majerle.
“We’re struggling here and need to make some changes to get things going in the right direction,” said Jackalopes Assistant Coach Matt Cressman at practice Thursday, “A lot of things haven’t worked out this year and [these trades] will hopefully help.”
Ho, a rookie blueliner from Chino Hills, California, netted four assists, 16 penalty minutes and a -14 rating in 29 games played for Odessa this season. “He’s a younger guy that might have some potential in the future,” said Cressman, “This is a good opportunity for him to go to a team that’s in the playoff picture…we hope it works out for him and we expressed that to him when we made the move.”
Marjerle, one of the tallest goaltenders in the NAHL at 6’6”, posted a 5-3-0 record in nine starts and ten appearances for fourth-place Brookings this year, with a 2.76 goals-against average and a save percentage of .911. The Cottage Grove, Minnesota native is expected to arrive in Odessa early in the day on Friday and start in the Jacks’ home game against Corpus Christi later that night.
“Our goaltending has struggled most of the year and we’ve been forced to make a lot of changes back there,” said Jackalopes Head Coach Paul Gillis Thursday, “[Majerle] is a bigger guy in the net and we definitely think that’s a positive.” Cressman agrees, noting Odessa’s need for a shakeup in the crease. “It’s tough to find a goaltender this late in the season,” said Cressman, “But you can’t stand pat…you’ve got to do something. [Marjele] became available and we snatched him up.”
The Jackalopes also released second-year defenseman Curt Rau on Thursday. In 82 career games played for Odessa, including 33 appearances this year, the Eden Prairie, Minnesota native tallied a combined two goals and ten total points for the Jacks with 36 penalty minutes and a -28 rating.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)