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Six players return to Royals

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The Reading Royals, ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, 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 each signed contracts 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, has totaled 71 points (33g-38a) in 123 games with the Royals. Low has also 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 18 points (10g-8a) 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 posted 16 points (3g-13a) in 35 regular-season games for the Swamp Rabbits and added two points in eight playoff contests. The 27-year-old from Ronkonkoma, New York has been a consistent scorer for Reading in his 130 games for the team, tallying 101 points (38g-63a). He led the Royals in goals (22), assists (37) and points (59) in 2019-20.

Drake was the Flyers’ seventh-round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He spent one year in the United States Hockey League 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 has posted 22 points (2g-20a).

Hodgson played in the Ontario Hockey League from 2012-17, he signed an AHL contract with the Cleveland Monsters before joining the Florida Everblades midway through the season. The 25-year-old recorded 20 points (12g-8a) in 36 games with the Royals in 2019-20. The Windsor, Ontario native played for the Wheeling Nailers and Utah Grizzlies in the 2020-21 season, totaling 18 points (8g-10a) in 44 games.

Cecere, a 26-year-old defenseman from West Des Moines, Iowa, played 49 games with the Maine Mariners in 2018-19, scoring seven points (1g-6a) in 49 games, before signing with the Royals for the 2019-20 season. He posted five points (2g-3a) in 24 games with Reading, steadily improving his efficiency from the previous year. He played for the Tulsa Oilers in 2020-21 and provided eight assists in 25 games.

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 served asteam captain during his junior and senior years. Upon graduation, he signed with the Birmingham Bulls of the Southern Professional Hockey League before joining 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.