Whitehead re-signs; RiverKings Acquire Defenseman

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Derek Landmesser announced today that the Mississippi RiverKings have re-signed forward Matt Whitehead to the training camp roster. Terms and conditions were not released. The RiverKings also acquired defenseman Brady Vandenberk from Knoxville for future considerations.

Whitehead, 29, rejoins the RiverKings for his third full season with the club after being acquired in a trade with the Fayetteville FireAntz in January 2012. The 5-foot-7, 170-pound forward tied for the team lead and tied for fifth in the SPHL with 55 points (22g, 33a) in 2013-14. He added four game-winning goals, which also tied for the team lead. Whitehead finished the regular season with 55 games played, missing only the season opener while he was on recall with CHL-St. Charles. 

"'Whitey' has been an elite player in our league from the second he stepped on the ice," Landmesser said. "He is a tremendous leader for our younger players on and off the ice. I am looking for this season to be the best of his career."

Whitehead has been better than a point-per-game player during his time with the RiverKings. In 139 games since joining the team, he has 147 points (60g, 87a). He has led the team with 33 assists in each of his two full seasons in Mississippi. During his professional career, the Newmarket, Ontario native has 16 games played in the CHL and five games played in the ECHL. 

"I'm excited to get back to Mississippi and get to work," Whitehead said. "It's been a long offseason; we're not happy about how last season ended. The RiverKings are a great organization and I anticipate a great season. Knowing 'Mess' and the players coming back, anything less than a championship will be disappointing."

Vandenberk, 26, enters his second professional season after playing his rookie campaign with the Knoxville Ice Bears in 2013-14. In 54 games last season, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound defenseman produced 15 points (1g, 14a). The Strathroy, Ontario native played four seasons with Northland College (MCHA) from 2009 to 2013, scoring 55 points (10g, 45a) in 97 games.

The RiverKings open their 2014-15 quest for the President's Cup on October 24 and 25 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. Receive a ticket to both games that weekend starting at $17 and get a free t-shirt. Groups of 15 or more who purchase tickets will receive complimentary tickets to a future RiverKings home game. For more information, visit riverkings.com or call 662-342-1755.

About the Mississippi RiverKings

The RiverKings are supported by our community partners, season ticket holders, fans, and grants from the Maddox Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Hernando, Miss. To find out more about the RiverKings, call 662.342.1755 or visit www.riverkings.com.

Photo Credit: John Coffin  
Matt Whitehead (pictured) joins Captain Leo Thomas as returning members of last year's veteran leadership group that led the RiverKings to their third consecutive playoff berth in the SPHL.

Posted by Lukas Favale at 3:00 PM


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PEN Pensacola 16 12 4 0 24
PEO Peoria 16 11 4 1 23
HUN Huntsville 15 9 4 2 20
MRK RiverKings 16 10 6 0 20
EVV Evansville 16 9 5 2 20
MAC Macon 16 7 5 4 18
KNX Knoxville 15 7 7 1 15
FAY Fayetteville 18 5 9 4 14
RKE Roanoke 15 5 8 2 12
BIR Birmingham 13 3 9 1 7
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Updated: December 12, 2017