By Tim Ethridge
Evansville Courier & Press
With the Central Hockey League's unbalanced schedule, Todd Robinson and his Odessa (Texas) Jackalopes never played the Evansville IceMen last season. But that doesn't mean Robinson wasn't aware of what was happening with the CHL expansion team in Southwestern Indiana.
"With my past relationship with (IceMen coach and general manager) Rich Kromm and a number of the players there, I was kind of monitoring them from afar," said Robinson, 33, who for 13 years has been one of the top scoring centers in all of minor-league hockey. "I saw that it was a struggle for them at times. But I also knew there was potential, because of the type of person and coach they've got in charge."
So when the Odessa franchise became one of four to leave the CHL, making Robinson a free agent, he knew that Kromm — who was his coach at Muskegon, Mich., in both 2000-01 and 2009-10 — would soon be calling. He was quick to answer, signing a two-season, year-round contract that includes being a team leader on the ice and a community hockey-builder off it.
"When I got this job last year, Todd already had signed with Odessa, or I would have done all I could to get him to come along with me then," said Kromm. "Once it became apparent he'd be available, he became our No. 1 target. He's not only a great player, but he's a leader and he's a winner. There aren't many people out there who hate losing more than he does, and that's what separates him from a lot of other talented players."
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