by Brett Wiseman



Today the Blue Ridge Bobcats selected four forwards in the FPHL's 2024 expansion draft. Teams who did not make the postseason in 2023-2024 were allotted picks in the expansion draft along with new league members Athens, Danville and Monroe. Each non-playoff team was allotted two picks each, but Blue Ridge acquired one pick each from Baton Rouge and Hudson Valley to make up their quartet of selections at 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th overall.

The players selected have not yet signed with the Bobcats, but Blue Ridge holds the rights to these players by selecting them.

"These four guys were the top guys on our list," said Bobcats vice president of Operations Jimmy Milliken. "We hope to see all 4 of these guys in Bobcats uniforms this season.

"This draft went exactly as we hoped for," said Bobcats head coach Vojtech Zemlicka. "All 4 of these guys are game changers on any team in this league. "On top of that three of them are coming off of winning a championship, and we hope they all can help us do that this season in Blue Ridge."

With the 4th pick, the Bobcats selected forward Josh Fletcher from the defending Commissioner's Cup Champion Binghamton Black Bears. The 6'0", 185lb Calgary, AB native notched 22 points (15 goals, 7 assists) in 60 games with Binghamton last season (including playoffs). The 26 year old also showcased toughness and a high Hockey IQ, racking up 111 penalty minutes on the season while also recording a plus-minus rating of +13. Prior to his rookie season with Binghamton, Fletcher spent 4 seasons at NCAA DIII Manhattanville College, where he skated in 80 games for the Valiants, posting 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) and racking up 59 penalty minutes.

With the 7th pick, Blue Ridge selected another Black Bear forward, Jestin Somero. The 6'2" 200lb native of New Ipswich, NH played the last season and a half with Binghamton, and was a teammate of newly-signed Bobcat Jonas Leas at NCAA DIII Morrisville State.

With the 8th pick, the Bobcats selected the third of the trio of Black Bears, forward Andrew Uturo. The 21 year old native of Wyoming, MI put up 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 17 games with Binghamton last season.

With their final selection, Blue Ridge took forward Tristian Simm from the Port Huron Prowlers. the 27 year old Squamish, BC native scored 14 goals and added 8 assists in 51 games with the Prowlers last season.

Season ticket packages are on-sale for the Bobcats forthcoming second season, and payment plans are available. Existing season ticket holders can now begin selecting their seats from the new 3,650 capacity before construction is completed in September. Season ticket holders enjoy exclusive perks and priority seat selection. CallĀ 276-335-2100 or visit blueridgebobcats.com/tickets for more information.

For more information on the Blue Ridge Bobcats please visit www.blueridgebobcats.com or follow us on Facebook andĀ TikTok (Blue Ridge Bobcats Pro Hockey), as well as Instagram and X (BRBobcatsHKY) and visit our YouTube channel (Blue Ridge Bobcats TV).