The Reading Royals, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, have announced their first six signings of the 2021-22 ECHL season. Brayden Low, Frank DiChiara, David Drake, Hayden Hodgson, Garrett Cecere and Mike Crocock have signed standard player contracts (SPCs) with the team for the coming year.
Low, DiChiara and Drake will each be skating in their third season with Reading, while Hodgson, Cecere and Crocock look to compete in a full season with the Royals following the shortened 2019-20 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Low, a 27-year-old forward from Richmond, British Columbia, scored 33 goals and dished 38 assists for 71 points in 123 games with the Royals. Low can be considered something of a world-traveler, as he played in the Australian Ice Hockey League in 2019 for CBR Brave and in the German third division for EV Lindau during the 2020-21 season. With EV Lindau, he scored 10 goals and recorded 8 assists for 18 points in 17 games.
DiChiara spent the start of the 2020-21 campaign with the Allen Americans before being traded to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits after 10 games. He scored 3 goals and 13 assists in 35 regular season games for the Swamp Rabbits. He then scored two points in eight playoff games in their run to the Kelly Cup Eastern Conference Finals. The 27-year-old from Ronkonkoma, N.Y. has been a consistent scorer for Reading in his 130 games for the team, scoring 38 goals and 63 assists for 101 points. The forward led the Royals in goals (22), assists (37) and points (59) in 2019-20.
Drake was the Flyers’ seventh-round draft pick in 2013. He spent one year in the USHL with Des Moines before attending the University of Connecticut for four years. He signed with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after graduating in 2018 and was loaned to Reading multiple times. In 118 games with the Royals, Drake scored twice and assisted 20 times. This is the first ECHL SPC for the 26-year-old defenseman from Naperville, Ill.
Hodgson, at 25 years old, is the youngest returning veteran for the Royals. After playing in the OHL from 2012-17, he signed an AHL contract with the Cleveland Monsters before joining the Florida Everblades midway through the season. An ECHL journeyman already, he’s played forward for six teams in four years with his longest stint being with the Royals in 2019-20. He scored 12 goals and 8 assists in 36 games. He also endured a leg injury where he was sliced by a skate that season. The Windsor, Ontario native played for the Wheeling Nailers and Utah Grizzlies in the modified 2020-21 ECHL season, scoring 8 goals and 10 assists in 44 games.
Garrett Cecere, a 26-year-old defenseman from West Des Moines, Iowa, played 49 games with the Maine Mariners in 2018-19, scoring 1 goal and 6 assists in 49 games, before signing with the Royals for the 2019-20 season. He scored 2 goals and 3 assists in 24 games with Reading, steadily improving his efficiency from the previous year. He played for the Tulsa Oilers in 2020-21 and provided 8 assists in 25 games.
Mike Crocock returns after playing 21 games for the Royals in 2019-20, putting up two assists. He played for Sacred Heart University from 2015-19 where he captained during his junior and senior years. Upon graduation, he signed with the Birmingham Bulls of the SPHL. The stay-at-home defenseman joined the Newfoundland Growlers and was then picked up by Reading on waivers Dec. 27. He spent the 2020-21 season playing for Tranås AIF in Hockeyettan, the third division of Swedish hockey. He is from Brantford, Ontario, the same hometown of Wayne Gretzky.
With these six signings, the Royals have three forwards and three defensemen on the team.
Reading Royals season, flex memberships and group tickets are available for the 2021-22 season by visiting the Royals’ box office at Santander Arena or by calling 610-898-7825.
About the Royals
The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are entering their 20th season in the ECHL. They won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and have clinched playoff berths in 10 of the previous 11 seasons. They are four-time division champions. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Are