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DESANTIS RETURNS TO THE RUSH AS ASSOCIATE COACH

Monday, August 25th
DESANTIS RETURNS TO THE RUSH AS ASSOCIATE COACH

(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush is pleased to announce one of the most important acquisitions this offseason. Former SPHL Coach of the Year, Mark DeSantis returns home to Rapid City as an Associate Coach for the 2014-15 CHL Season.

“It’s fantastic to have Mark back in Rapid City”, said Rush Head Coach and General Manager Joe Ferras. “To have a great friend and a great coach with the work ethic and passion for hockey that Desi possess was a no brainer. With Mark’s hockey mind, loyalty and commitment to winning, this is a perfect fit for putting our coaching staff together.”

The relationship between Ferras and DeSantis began in the 2000-2001 season with the New Mexico Scorpions of the WPHL, and continued to the Amarillo Gorillas several seasons later in the CHL, where DeSantis served as a player-assistant under Ferras for four seasons. When the Rush organization began play in the 2008-09 season, DeSantis finished his career as the inaugural captain of the Rush, acting as a player-assistant one last time for Ferras before hanging up his skates and beginning the next phase of his career.

“I am very excited to be back in Rapid City where I concluded my playing career and was fortunate to start my next chapter as a professional coach with a first class organization,” said DeSantis. “This was obviously a very important move for my family and I to come back to Rapid City, and I can’t wait to be alongside Joe (Coach Ferras) again for what I believe will be another great season in the Black Hills.”

After the conclusion of his playing career, DeSantis made the transition to coaching and was an assistant coach for the Rush for three seasons, where he helped the Rush win their only CHL Championship in the 2009-10 season. He followed his time as an assistant with the Rush to become the head coach of the Fayetteville FireAntz in the SPHL. In his first and only year with the club in the 2012-13 season, DeSantis lead the FireAntz to a 35-18-3 record, an SPHL Regular Season Championship, and was honored as the SPHL Coach of the Year. Following his success in North Carolina, DeSantis became the inaugural head coach of his hometown Brampton Beast in the CHL, the first Canadian expansion team in league history. As their bench boss, he helped the team to a 33-26-7 record and qualified for the playoffs in their first year, but fell at the hands of the eventual two-time defending CHL champion Allen Americans in the opening playoff round in five games.

“I’ve been involved with the Rush since day one of the organization’s existence. Being the inaugural captain of the franchise and the assistant for the team’s first championship is an experience that I will never forget, and an experience I have carried with me after my initial years with the team,” DeSantis continued.

Ferras added: “Our defensemen have a great opportunity to reap the benefits in working with Desi and his knowledge and experience on a daily basis to make us an elite defense corps. Having played 1,000 games in his career over 16 seasons, Desi understands the commitment involved to be successful at the pro level.”

“I left Rapid City to take the chance of a lifetime as a head coach in professional hockey,” Coach DeSantis concluded. “I was met with great success with the FireAntz and the Beast, but to have the opportunity to return to Rapid City and a first class organization in the Rush, and be reunited with Joe was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Joe and I are passionate about the game and we understand what the Rush means to this community and its loyal fans. Our goal is to bring back another championship to the Black Hills.”

A native of Brampton, Ontario, DeSantis has been involved with professional hockey for over two decades as either a player or a coach. Over the course of his 16 year career as a defenseman, DeSantis played 1,001 games in six different leagues, while scoring 604 points (143 G, 461 Ast), and was named the WPHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman in the 2000-01 season. All-time, DeSantis has a 68-44-10 record as a head coach. His hockey career began at the junior level, playing for the Cornwall and Newmarket Royals in the OHL prior to turning professional.

Other Rush News:

The Rush Historical Jersey Auction is back with another installment of jerseys, with Kevin Harvey’s and Tristin Llewellyn’s jersey on the auction block. To bid on the jerseys, visit the team’s eBay page here: http://www.ebay.com/usr/rapidcityrush?_trksid=p2047675.l2559

Join Rush Nation for only $10 per game! 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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