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JUSTIN SAWYER RETURNS FOR THIRD SEASON IN RAPID CITY

Tuesday, June 24th
JUSTIN SAWYER RETURNS FOR THIRD SEASON IN RAPID CITY

(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush are pleased to announce another player signing for the upcoming 2014-15 CHL season. Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras has brought back defenseman/forward Justin Sawyer, who looks to bring back his strong presence on the blue line in a Rush uniform for a third season.

“Saw has given his heart and soul to this organization and his teammates for the last two years,” said Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras. “We all know that Saw is regarded as one of the toughest players throughout pro hockey, and this is only one dimension of what he brings to our hockey club. He has been a plus player and a key component to our outstanding five-on-five play for the last two seasons, as well as a top penalty-killer for us.”

“I was very excited to be coming back,” said Sawyer, entering his third season with the Rush organization. “Rapid City has become my home. I absolutely love the city and community, and Reese (his dog) and I are very excited to be back and to be a part of the community again.”

Sawyer came off of a spectacular 2013-14 campaign personally, scoring 5 goals along with 11 helpers for 16 points, along with a t +16 rating, good enough for a top 15 finish in the CHL. His 5 goals tied a career high for goals scored in a season, and his 16 points set a new career high for points in a season as well. Justin also became one of four players last season to become a Rush “Centurion”, having played his 100th game in a Rush uniform on 2/8/14 in a 6-4 loss at Denver. In addition to his statistical achievements, he was voted the #3 Best Heavyweight Fighter in the CHL’s annual “Best of the Best” Poll.

“I was hit with an injury towards the end of the season, so I need to improve my body if I want to have a great season like that again,” said Justin on his performance last season. “Ultimately, I want to be toughest guy out on the ice and earn more regular shifts. If I stick to my game then I know I’ll be able to contribute in a major capacity next season.” When asked about the team’s results last year, he added “we had a great start last year, but we need to stay consistent and not get too high or too low. We need to play a full 66 game season to prepare us for a grueling postseason and play right through to the very end to hoist the Ray Miron President’s Cup.”

“Saw’s leadership has been invaluable to the Rush, and he is highly respected throughout the locker room,” added Ferras. “I am looking for him to build off the great season he had last year. Justin has been a crowd favorite his two seasons in Rapid City. He has been a tremendous role model and is always one of the first people to give back to the community.”

“I embrace being a role model for the Native American community here in Rapid City,” concluded Sawyer. “Seeing all of the young faces watching you, it really pushes me to be someone worthy of a role model. It’s not just very positive for the children, but also for myself as I try to grow as a person.”

Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, Sawyer will enter his ninth season of playing professional hockey, with his career spanning five different leagues: AHL, ECHL, IHL, EIHL (London), and CHL. Coming into his third season with the Rush, the 6’6”, 240 lb defenseman holds the single-season franchise record for PIM (238) set in the 2012-13 season, and is the all-time franchise leader in PIM with 7 shy of 400. He has tallied 5 goals with 13 assists for 18 points in a Rush jersey. Sawyer played his junior hockey in the OPJHL for five years, the majority of them with his hometown Oshawa Legionaires, and two seasons in the OHL with his hometown Oshawa Generals.

Other Rush News:

The Rush will announce details of an upcoming online jersey auction by the end of the day today, as they prepare to auction off CHL history: the black sublimated road jerseys worn by the team that set the CHL’s consecutive road win streak record in late December, autographed. Be sure to follow rapidcityrush.com and all of the team’s social media outlets for more information today.

Interested in season tickets? Call the Rush office at 716-7825 for details, and stay informed on all Rush happenings this summer through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.

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