Kevin Fukala, who energized fans at James Brown Arena earlier this season with his hard-hitting fists and willingness to fight, has returned to the Augusta RiverHawks.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound enforcer tallied 102 penalty minutes in 11 games for the RiverHawks before leaving for the ECHL's Florida Everblades.
Fukala's arrival will help fill a void left by forward Aaron McGill, who was suspended by the Southern Professional Hockey League for the rest of the season on Tuesday. McGill's punch in Saturday night's loss in Knoxville shattered the jaw of Ice Bears defenseman Mark Van Vliet, and McGill's suspension of the remaining 13 regular season games and playoffs highlighted a series of multiple suspensions and fines handed out by the league office this week as as result of the physical game.
The RiverHawks are appealing the league's ruling on McGill's suspension. The team will play three games in three nights starting Thursday, and head coach Brad Ralph said he's waiting to hear from the league on if McGill can play until the appeal process is completed.
"I'll find out later today," Ralph said. "But I'm going about my business like he can't play."
Ralph also said a new goalie will arrive in time for Thursday night's game to replace Jon Olthuis, who left for Dayton in the Central Hockey League on Tuesday.