(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush continues their offseason with more crucial signings for the upcoming year. Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras has re-signed the blue-line duo of veteran Sean Erickson and Rookie of the Year Finalist Brett Kostolansky.
“Both Sean and Kosto were two of our core defenseman that we focused on to get back into the fold going forward,” said Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras. “The two were major contributors that logged a lot of minutes and didn’t miss a game for us last season, which is very difficult to do in pro hockey considering the travel, physicality, and pace of play in our league. Having both Sean and Kosto return to the 2014-15 roster makes us a better hockey club today.”
“It feels amazing to be back with the Rush,” Kostolansky said of his return for a second season. “Not knowing what to expect as a rookie and seeing what Rapid City was like was an amazing and great experience. I can’t wait to get back to the Black Hills in front of these fans and get things started again.”
Kostolansky made a splash as a rookie under Coach Ferras, becoming an “Iron Man” in just his first season by playing in all 66 regular season games, where he scored 2 goals with 17 assists for 19 points. His first career point came just two games into the season when he recorded his first assist against the Mallards in a 6-4 win on October 19th. He led all rookies with a +/- rating of +14, and was recognized by the league for his hard work and solid play as a Rookie of the Year Finalist. He played in all seven games of the Rush’s first round playoff series against the Quad City Mallards, notching one assist in the set.
“I definitely think last season was a great start to my career as a pro hockey player,” added Kostolansky on his play last season. “You’re always looking for ways to improve, and personally, I’d like to get tougher, more offensive and defensive, and just work on the small things. It was a great honor to be a finalist for Rookie of the Year last season, but I just can’t wait to get back and help the team win again.” When he was told that his partner, Sean Erickson, would also return, Brett continued: “What Sean and I did on the ice as a pair speaks for itself. We read off of each other well, he was just that great to play with. I really enjoyed playing with him, and I really appreciated how much he taught me as a vet to a rookie like me. I can’t wait to be back with him and learn more from him as the season, and my career, progresses.”
“Kosto coming in the year prior for our playoff run after a tremendous career at UNH helped in his development to make a seamless transition from the college game to the pro game,” said Coach Ferras on Kostolansky. “Kosto’s hockey sense and compete level, combined with his dedication and commitment to the game, separated himself from a lot of defensemen throughout the league, and resulted in his nomination as a top rookie defenseman. He brings a professionalism to the locker room and his willingness to sacrifice his body resonates throughout the locker room with his teammates.”
Kostolansky enters his second season with the Rush as a professional hockey player. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he played collegiately with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in the NCAA, playing almost 150 games with his alma mater in his four years. Kostolansky led the Wildcats to a successful Frozen Four tournament appearance in his senior season, with their run ending in the Regional Finals against UMass-Lowell, a team that would lose in the Frozen Four to the eventual National Champion Yale Bulldogs.
Erickson was adamant on his return to the Rush, simply stating: “It’s what I wanted. I did not want to play anywhere else. The fans have treated me so well since I arrived to Rapid City, and to be a part of the community again, this time for a full season, is the best feeling I could have.”
Erickson contributed 58 games of outstanding play for the Rush last season. Before coming back to the States, he played across the pond in the EIHL in England, suiting up in 17 games with the Coventry Blaze, scoring a goal along with 7 helpers for 8 points. In his 58 games with the Rush, Erickson tallied 14 goals and 31 assists for a 45 point season, finishing the year tied for third in scoring amongst defensemen and tied for second in goal-scoring amongst defensemen. He concluded the season playing in all games in the first round of the playoffs, contributing a goal and an assist for 2 points in the hard-fought seven-game series loss to the Mallards.
“Personally I think I had a pretty good year, and it helped playing with guys like Konrad Reeder, Winston Day Chief, and Jesse Schultz,” said Erickson on last season. He added: “They say that you’re only as good as your last shift played, and while we did well and had a spectacular season as a team, we did not want a first round elimination in the playoffs. So now we regroup and get right back to it.” With regards to the return of Brett Kostolansky to the team, Erickson replied, “sophomore season is big as a pro, makes or breaks player sometimes. With the way Kosto carries himself on and off the ice I see nothing less than an improvement coming from him. The way we played together was outstanding. We didn’t need to talk much, we were just able to play well off of each other. He’s definitely one person I’m looking forward to playing with for sure next year.”
“Having coached against Sean for four seasons, we knew that he was an elite defenseman and one that we needed to key on every time we played Tulsa,” said Coach Ferras of Sean Erickson. “Sean plays a much bigger game than his stature. His compete level and willingness to battle other team’s big forwards is a part of his game that doesn’t get near the amount of recognition it deserves. Sean is an exceptional skater that is capable of being an offensive threat in all situations. He has the capability of jumping in on the rush and his speed allows him to get back on the defensive side of the puck.”
Hailing from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Erickson has over 300 games played in his CHL career spanning five seasons, the first four of which were played with the Tulsa Oilers. Entering his sixth season of pro hockey, Erickson has 322 games played overall between the CHL, ECHL, EIHL, and AHL, with 54 goals and 127 assists for 181 points. The 30 year-old defenseman played his college hockey with the University of Connecticut, playing in over 120 games with the Huskies in four seasons.
Other Rush News:
Tomorrow at 8 AM, the auction period for both Scott Brannon’s and Justin Faryna’s historical jerseys will end. At that same time, both Brett Kostolansky’s and Sean Erickson’s jersey auctions will begin, lasting until next Wednesday, July 16th at 8 AM. Go to the jersey’s respective pages on the Rapid City Rush eBay store here: http://www.ebay.com/usr/rapidcityrush?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
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.