The Bismarck Bobcats have started building the roster for the 2008-09 season with the signing of five tenders. The team has not qualified for the playoffs the past two seasons, but, with the new additions, Bismarck looks to be heading in the right direction.
Starting on the defensive side, Bismarck has signed two players that have proven to be game-ready as steady foundations on the back half. John Avino of the Dubuque Thunderbirds is a consistent stay-at-home defenseman that spent a short stint in Bismarck last season over Christmas. Avino was a key player in Dubuque’s Central States League’s championship and run at the national tournament.
The Bobcats have also signed Detroit Compuware defenseman Daniel DeKeyser, a big, lanky defender that plays every game with an edge.
“John Avino competes hard,” said Bobcats head coach Byron Pool. “He’s a tough kid and we’re excited to have him in a ‘Cats jersey.
“DeKeyser has a tremendous upside and a real bright future in the North American Hockey League,” Pool added.
Last season, the Bobcats didn’t produce a 20-goal scorer, nor did they have a player break the 45-point mark. Three players in this year’s tender class should help the cause.
Jimmy Siers of the Thunderbirds tallied 20 goals and 21 assists in 42 games. He finished fourth in scoring for the Hurster Cup champions while leaving his mark as a tough power forward.
“Jimmy should be a fan favorite,” said Pool. “He’s a (Bobcats forward) Will Aide-type player who works hard and helps out his linemates.”
The Colorado Midget AAA state champions will send two of their best north to Bismarck. Josh Holmstrom led the Colorado Rampage in scoring with 58 points in 52 games to go along with 72 minutes in penalties. Holmstrom’s hard work was recognized by the USHL’s Lincoln Stars, who called him up midway through the year to play against Des Moines and Sioux Falls.
His teammate, Tim Serratore, was also a big point-producer for the Rampage. Serratore netted 17 goals for 51 points in 52 games. Placing second in scoring for the 2007-08 season, Serratore is no stranger to winning and being an offensive threat.
“Holmstrom and Serratore are great additions to this team,” said Pool. “They were both key players for the Rampage this season and a good reason there team was tops in the state.
“Holmstrom is a big strong centerman who has a great work ethic and can play a variety of rolls. Josh plays well in his own end and he’s an all-around good player.
“Serratore is a gritty winger who will show up to play every day. Both of these kids have a bright upside.”