Hoof Beats: Kestner, Knight playing well in Europe

While the pro seasons are gearing up late here in North America, some leagues in Europe are well under way, and a couple of Charger alumni are making their mark.

Josh Kestner is off to a hot start with TPS in Finland’s Liiga. Kestner had 11 goals and 19 points in 20 games. He’s tied for fifth in the league in both goals and points.

Defenseman Cam Knight is also playing well in Denmark. He has nine points in his last 10 games with Esjberg, and has 13 points total in 25 games played.

Domestically, the NHL is planning to start a 56-game regular season on January 13. The Minnesota Wild, Cam Talbot’s new team, opens the season at Los Angeles on January 14.

The ECHL has just started this season, although some teams have opted out. Among those affected by cancellation are Kurt Gosselin (Cincinnati), Tyler Poulsen (Worcester), and Matt Salhany (Adirondack).

Brennan Saulnier’s Rapid City Rush is playing, however, and the third-year pro has a goal in three games.

In the SPHL, Cody Dion signed with the Birmingham Bulls after his previous team, the Peoria Rivermen, opted out of the 2020-21 season. The SPHL season will start Saturday with five teams, including the Huntsville Havoc. Also, goaltender Jake Theut joined the Macon Mayhem after his ECHL team, the Norfolk Admirals, opted out.

Charger alumni in the pros

Ross, Sofikitis to join new UAH Hall of Fame: UAH announced its inaugural class of the UAH Athletics Hall of Fame on Monday. Two of the 10-member group represent the hockey program.

Doug Ross coached the Chargers from 1982-2007. His teams won the 1996 and 1998 NCAA Division II national championships, the 2001 and 2003 College Hockey America regular-season titles, and the 2007 CHA tournament, earning UAH’s first berth in the Division I tournament.

Ross coached the Chargers to 376 wins in the 22 seasons since UAH hockey became a varsity program in 1985.

Taso Sofikitis was a defenseman for the Chargers from 1992-96. He was a member of the 1996 NCAA Division II national champions and a CoSIDA first-team All-American in 1995-96.

Sofikits scored 17 goals and 56 assists over 103 career games played.

The induction ceremony is not yet scheduled.

Four games added to schedule: UAH has four non-conference games against WCHA opponents added to this season’s schedule.

The Chargers will go to Minnesota State on January 28-29. Michigan Tech comes to Huntsville the following weekend, February 5-6.

The additions fill the gaps created when Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks opted out of playing the 2020-21 season.