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Baton Rouge Zydeco re-signs two players, reiterates plans for 2024-25 season

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BATON ROUGE — The Baton Rouge Zydeco announced plans for their sophomore season at a press conference Thursday morning. Headlining the announcements was the news that the team would be re-signing two players from its record-breaking inaugural season.

Forward Scott Shorrock and right winger Bradley Richardson will return for the 2024-25 season, head coach Everett Thompson announced. Thompson was announced as head coach back in February.

Richardson is a legacy Baton Rouge hockey player, with his father, Bryan Richardson, serving as captain during the Baton Rouge Kingfish's final season in 2002-2003 as their all-time goal scorer. He is the sole Baton Rouge native on the roster.

"It's pretty special to me and my family to be able to come back down here and kind of experience it again a second time," Richardson said. "I'm kind of old enough to enjoy it now because last last time I was here I was too young to really realize anything."

Wayne Hodes, general manager of the Raising Cane's River Center, reiterated the team's commitment to remaining in Baton Rouge for the long haul, highlighting the Zydeco setting attendance records for the Federal Prospects Hockey League.

The Zydeco averaged 3,958 fans per game, or two more than a team at Binghamton, New York. The previous league record was set by Binghamton last year, at 3,507. Attendance numbers for the season exceeded 110,000, team president Don Lewis said.

Hodes also cited an economic impact study by Visit Baton Rouge that showed the hockey team brought $18.1 million into the local economy, particularly downtown.

"Notwithstanding the fact that we ended on a great 6-2 run and a three-game sweep of the rival Mississippi Seawolves," Hodes said.

After signing a three-year lease with the city last April, the team plans to expand to a full promotional schedule and a more consistent 7:05 p.m. start time for games, Lewis said.

"We asked a lot of our fans and sponsors what they preferred and that's what they preferred," Lewis said. "And that's who we're here for."

The presser comes less than 24 hours after the team was honored by the Metro Council for completion of their season. Another goal for the team's next season stated at the presser, echoed by sentiments at the Metro Council ceremony, was to make the league playoffs after ending with a record of 15-36, the second lowest amount of wins league-wide.

"At the end of the season, we obviously learned how to win the games and next year our mindset is going to be how to win a championship," Edgars Ozolinich, a defenseman from Riva, Latvia, said Wednesday. "Let's bring that cup next year."

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