Former Cardiff Devils spark plug player Zach Hervato played a key role in the recruitment of former Syracuse Crunch centre Mike McNamee.
The two men are both from Ontario, born in towns 50 miles apart – Stittsville and Perth respectively. They played together in junior hockey, both playing for Smiths Fall Bears and Ottawa Valley Titans.
“Excited about getting Mike on board,” tweeted Devils head coach Andrew Lord. “Great references, including from our boy Zach Hervato.”
McNamee has played in Germany and Denmark over the last two seasons and has Champions Hockey League experience.
He has signed for Devils intent on winning trophies, saying: “I would love to win a championship – I haven’t had the opportunity before.
“It is exciting to play for a team with a winning tradition.”
— Andrew Lord (@AndrewLord17) June 28, 2019
McNamee is a musician and his favourite band is Kings of Leon.
“I have an uncle who always played the guitar for us when I was a kid,” he says. “He bought a guitar for me as a Christmas gift when I was 13-years-old.
“It was in my closet for five years without being touched. But one day I was bored and took it out.
“Now I have become pretty good at playing. It’s something creative and the guitar travels with me.
“I have something with music and write songs. Music is part of me and has an influence on me. If I need entertainment, then I take the guitar out, even in the locker room.
“I play a lot of music and draw a fair bit, but music takes up most of my spare time.”
McNamee, aged 25, describes himself as ‘quiet, passionate and creative’, saying: “As a player I’m creative and also outgoing and sensitive.”
He likes to play number 27, but switched to 72 when he joined Danish club Aalborg last season, saying: “I number 27, but that was taken, so creatively I just changed the numbers and had number 72.”
McNamee will face the same problem with Devils because Joey Haddad wears 27.
His coach at Carleton University in Ottawa, Marty Cavallin, describes the forward as ‘calm person’ and a ‘leader by example’ who finds opportunities to shoot ‘out of nowhere’.
McNamee is fast and reads the game well, scoring 137 points in 105 matches for Carleton over over four years.
He learned to play hockey in his Canadian hometown of Perth, Ontario, while his clubs since finishing at university have been Syracuse Crunch (American League), Bad Nauheim (Germany) and Aalborg (Denmark).
He played for Carleton University Ravens on a tour to Europe, playing in Germany during 2015 and was Canadian universities assistant captain in Kazakhstan.
Devils’ confirmed signings:
Head coach: Andrew Lord
Netminder: Ben Bowns
Defence: Mark Louis (import).
Forwards: Mike McNamee (import), Sam Duggan, Joey Martin (import), Joey Haddad (import), Charles Linglet (import), Josh Batch.
Cardiff Devils pre-season schedule:
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11: Cardiff Devils v Fehervar (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay)
Saturday 17: Nottingham Panthers v Devils (in Nottingham)
Sunday 18 Devils v Nottingham Panthers (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay)
Sunday 25 Devils V MAC Budapest (Viola Arena, Cardiff Bay)
Friday 30 Devils v Mountfield HK (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 7.30pm)
Sunday 1 Devils v Graz 99ers (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 6pm)
Thursday 5 Mountfield HK v Devils (5pm)
Saturday 7 Graz 99ers v Devils (6.15pm)
Tuesday 8 Frolunda Indians v Devils (5pm)
Tuesday 15 Devils v Frolunda Indians (Champions Hockey League fixture, Viola Arena, 7.30pm)
Elite League and Challenge Cup fixtures still to be announced.