Former Bears captain Viola to make pro debut with Peoria Rivermen tonight


Peoria Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel has announced that the team has signed winger Matt Viola to an Southern Professional Hockey League contract.

Viola, 25, attended training camp with the Rivermen in October and appeared in both exhibition games against the Bloomington Thunder. He was
released October 20.

A native of Toronto, Viola spent the last four years at State University of New York at Potsdam. Over 83 collegiate games, the 6'0, 195-pound left
wing recorded 45 points (12g, 37a) along with 85 penalty minutes. Last season, he notched a career-high five goals and 15 assists for 20 points
as a senior.

Prior to his college career, Viola played four seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League from 2005-2009.

He is expected to be in the lineup for Friday's game against Pensacola. Peoria continues a four-game home stand on Friday with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop against the Pensacola Ice Flyers at Carver Arena. The game can be heard online at Fans can also follow along via the live video and audio stream at