First to agree to deals for 2023-24 season
Coralville, Iowa – The Iowa Heartlanders, proud ECHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild and Iowa Wild, announced the team’s first signings for the 2023-24 season, agreeing to terms with forward Yuki Miura, defenseman Kevin McKernan, forward Tanner MacMaster and goaltender Peyton Jones.Miura, McKernan and MacMaster are returners to the team. Miura is in his third season with Iowa. McKernan and MacMaster are in their sixth years as professionals and second seasons with Iowa.The goaltender Jones enters his fourth professional campaign after spending last season overseas in the United Kingdom’s EIHL with Belfast and Nottingham. Prior to that, Jones played his first two seasons in the ECHL and AHL with Utah and Colorado.The move sets the table for the next few months leading up to the start of Iowa’s third season in the ECHL. Iowa opens the season vs. the Rapid City Rush on Fri., Oct. 20 at 7:05 p.m. Season ticket memberships, mini-plans, partial plans and group tickets are available for the 2023-24 season by visiting iowaheartlanders.com/tickets and by calling 319-569-4625.2023-24 RosterForwards (2): Yuki Miura, Tanner MacMasterDefensemen (1): Kevin McKernanGoaltenders (1): Peyton JonesHead Coach and General Manager Derek Damon:“These signings are a great first step for our team, with more to be announced in the coming days. We’ve built a lot of momentum these last few months with a strong end to the season that put us within striking distance of a number of division opponents. We have all put in a lot of work since the season ended to ensure our third year in the Heartland is our best yet on the ice. All four players we announced today are quality people and strong leaders that will be important pieces of our locker room starting next fall.”
Need to know Miura (112 GP) is one of two players in team history to play in at least 100 games with Iowa (Zach White, 123 GP). The Toyko, Japan native scored a career-high 11 goals and 30 points in 71 games with Iowa while playing a key role on the penalty kill and in the team’s top-six. A 26-year-old right-handed shot, Miura skated for Lake Superior State from 2017-21 and tallied 29 points (8g) in 100 NCAA games. Prior to joining Lake State, Miura skated for the Waterloo Black Hawks (2016-17), making this Miura’s fourth year living in the Hawkeye State.McKernan joined Iowa last season in a trade with Greenville and became a key member of Iowa’s blue line, tallying 16 points (4g) in 40 games. He is Iowa’s first player signed to a 2023-24 contract to have a “veteran” designation. A sixth-year professional from Millbury, MA, McKernan, 28, has generated 16 goals and 85 points in 264 ECHL games. He stands 6-foot and weighs 192 pounds. The right-handed shot played four seasons for Quinnipiac (2014-18).MacMaster starts his sixth year as a pro in 2023-24. Last season, he scored 14 points in 31 games in Sweden’s HockeyAllvenskan for HC Vita Hasten, then signed with Iowa in January and scored 11 points (3g) in 12 games. The 27-year-old has 239 games of professional experience split between the AHL, ECHL and overseas. His first three professional seasons were spent in the AHL with Utica, Toronto and Lehigh Valley, where he tallied 57 points (19g) in 145 games. The Quinnipiac graduate spent all four seasons playing with Kevin McKernan; the duo helped the Bobcats make two NCAA tournaments and one Frozen Four.Jones is entering his fourth professional season and his third in North America. Last season, he combined to go 15-12-0 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in the EIHL with Belfast and Nottingham. From 2020-22, Jones appeared in 50 ECHL games with Utah and 5 AHL games with Colorado. Jones won a career-best 17 games (17-9-1) with Utah in 2021-22 and helped the team reached the Western Conference Finals. He has had a winning record in each of his first three pro seasons. The Penn State graduate is the school’s all-time winningest goaltender (76) and finished his NCAA career as the Nittany Lions leader in games played, minutes and saves. He helped Penn State to the school’s first two NCAA tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018 and was a four-year starter.