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The Columbus Cottonmouths have signed their first three players for the 2009-10 season. Returning to the Snakes as the team's veteran leaders will be forwards Tim Green, Orrin Hergott and Captain Craig Stahl. All three players have been with the Snakes since the formation of the SPHL in 2004, and were members of the Snakes' 2004-05 President's Cup championship team.

Green, 27, will suit up for his sixth season in a Snakes jersey. He has been a consistent offensive weapon, finishing as one of the team's top three scorers each season. In 2005-06, the Camrose, Alberta native registered a league-high 41 goals, and his 90 total points ranked him third among all SPHL players. Green received first-team All-SPHL honors in 2005-06 and second-team All-SPHL in 2006-07. Last season, he served as an alternate captain and finished fifth in the league in points scored with 75. In five seasons with Columbus, Green has contributed 357 points over 280 total games.

Hergott, 27, also returns for his sixth season in Columbus. At 5-foot-7, Hergott's speed makes up for his size as he is arguably one of the fastest players in the league. Last season, the Humboldt, Saskatchewan native was sidelined for two months with an injury but finished strong, contributing five goals in five playoff games. Hergott, along with Green, served as an alternate captain last season. He has recorded 215 points in 257 overall games for the Cottonmouths.

Stahl has served as the team's captain since his arrival in 2004. The 2009-10 season will mark his sixth consecutive season with the Cottonmouths. Stahl had an earlier stint with the Snakes, playing the 2000-01 season with Columbus as members of the Central Hockey League. The 32-year old native of Cranbrook, British Columbia is recognized for his strength, leadership and experience. Over the last five seasons, Stahl has collected 148 points in 274 games.

Per SPHL guidelines, each team can only carry three veterans on its roster. Any player who has played over 224 professional games is considered a veteran. With the signing of Green, Hergott and Stahl, four players from last year's team will be ineligible to re-sign with the Snakes due to their veteran status. These players include Roman Marakhovski, Lorne Misita, Brad Patterson and Ryan Rutz. Misita and Rutz had also been with the Snakes since 2004.

"The decision to keep these three veterans assures us good citizens, great hockey players and experienced leadership that we need this year, especially since we'll be bringing in a lot of new faces," head coach Jerome Bechard said. "This has been the toughest decision I've had to make. Not only are we losing some key players, but more importantly, we're losing some great ambassadors to our community."

The Cottonmouths kick off their 14th season of play in October. A game schedule is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. The Snakes will face three new opponents this season, as Biloxi, MS, Lafayette, LA., and Pensacola, Fla. have joined the league. Season tickets are on sale now! Low monthly payment plans are available. For more information or to reserve your tickets, call 706 571 0086.
 
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