DUBUQUE, IA—In preparation of the USHL regular season beginning next week, the Dubuque Fighting Saints announced today that they have released goaltender Arthur Brey, reducing the roster to 23 players. The Fighting Saints had been carrying three goaltenders during the preseason, and the move indicates that the team will begin the season with a tandem of Christian Frey and Hayden Stewart in net.
"It was a very difficult decision," said Head Coach and General Manager Matt Shaw. "This was certainly the toughest decision we have faced since I've been Head Coach and General Manager. Arthur handled it with nothing but complete professionalism. He wants to stay in the USHL so we want to give him that ability. The best way to have him stay in the League is for us to release him and any team that wants him can show that by stepping up and taking him."
Brey, a native of Yorba Linda, California, enjoyed a stellar season last year with Dubuque. The netminder came to Dubuque's try-out camp as a relative unknown and turned heads right away. His play earned him a roster spot with the Fighting Saints for the 2012-2013 season. Brey's USHL career started quickly, as the goaltender won his first start against Tri-City on September 28, and recorded his first USHL shutout versus Fargo on October 6. Brey split time with Connor Girard to start the year, but his play and success resulted in him taking over the reigns as the club's primary goaltender. Last year, he was among the USHL's statistical leaders, racking up a 24-6-4 record with a 2.22 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. He was twice named the USHL's Reebok Goaltender of the Week, claiming the honor in both November and February.
Brey missed part of last season with an injury sustained in a December car accident, but returned strong in February, earning a pair of wins his first weekend back, including a 3-0 shutout of Waterloo on February 9. Brey's success continued into the post season as he helped lead Dubuque to a Clark Cup title by going 9-1-0 in the playoffs with a sparkling 1.65 goals against average and .935 save percentage.
This preseason, Brey accompanied the Fighting Saints to Omsk, Russia for the 2013 Junior Club World Cup and appeared in three games overseas. He split time with Christian Frey in the exhibition loss to CSKA Red Army, took the loss in opening contest of the tournament versus HC Riga, and bounced back with a win over Belarus in the Bronze Medal Game. Brey also appeared in three exhibition games for the Fighting Saints, going 1-0-0 with a 4.28 goals against average and .821 save percentage.
"You want to have difficult decisions as an organization," said Shaw. "I had to make a tough decision. I counseled with our coaching staff, and we feel we have made the best decision for our hockey club."
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)