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RUSH TO JOIN THE ECHL FOR UPCOMING SEASON

Tuesday, October 7th
RUSH TO JOIN THE ECHL FOR UPCOMING SEASON

(RAPID CITY, SD) – After three long years Rush fans, the wait is FINALLY over.

The Rapid City Rush is in the ECHL.

The 2014-15 Rush season will be played under the ECHL banner. This announcement comes just a month after the CHL announced that the Denver Cutthroats and Arizona Sundogs suspended operations for the upcoming season. All 7 former CHL teams: the Rush, the Allen Americans, the Brampton Beast, the Quad City Mallards, the Missouri Mavericks, the Tulsa Oilers, and the Wichita Thunder, have made the jump to the ECHL.

“The Rush organization is very excited about the move. It has been a long time in the making and has been a costly transition,” said Rush owner Scott Mueller. “We feel that the transition to the ECHL is a move that will keep hockey in the Black Hills for many years to come. Also, it assures that our Rush fans will have a high level of competition in front of them night in and night out. We are also very excited about the possibility of a NHL affiliation and a league that models itself as closely as it can with the NHL.”

Created by the merging of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League and the All-American Hockey League, the ECHL has been in operation since 1988, and started off with 5 teams, 3 of which are still active but in different locations. In 2003, the league received a major increase in membership, with the ECHL Board of Governors approving membership applications of teams from the West Coast Hockey League, which ceased operations that same summer. Since then, the league has exponentially grown in size, and has seen affiliations with 28 of the NHL’s 30 teams, becoming the premier AA hockey league in North America.

“The ECHL is the Premier AA Hockey League that has produced well over 400 plus players that have gone on to play at the NHL level,” said Rush Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras. “This move is important and very exciting for our fans. It has been our objective to bring the best level of hockey to Rapid City and today we are very proud that we are making the transition to the ECHL. The objective is to win a championship as well as develop players that have played in the major junior and in the NCAA level, and help them ultimately reach their goal of playing in the NHL.”

The level of hockey being played in the ECHL is vastly intensified from its CHL counterpart. It is a much younger and faster league, with the average age of a player being around 24.5 versus the CHL’s 25.5. Since starting with 5 teams in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia, the ECHL now has 28 teams spread all across the United States/North America, as far west as California and Alaska, as far east as Florida and New York, and as north as Canada.

Over the course of the league’s history, approximately 550 players and 30 coaches have made their way to the NHL after developing first in the ECHL. This list of distinguished alumni contains names like coaches Peter Laviolette, Bruce Boudreau, and Stanley Cup Champion Dan Bylsma, and players such as Alex Burrows (Vancouver), David Deharnais (Montreal), Dan Girardi (New York Rangers), Petr Mrazek (Detroit), and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles).

“Having the opportunity to team up with an NHL organization for an affiliation brings even more recognition to the already strong name that the Rush organization carries in the hockey world,” stated Associate Coach Mark DeSantis. “It’s not only exciting for Joe and I to have the opportunity to work with NHL contracted players that one day may play at the highest level, but this offers our fans the chance to see these players develop and hone their skills wearing a Rush jersey.”

“From a coaching stand point, it will be exciting working with younger players on a daily basis, who are on the cusp of playing in American Hockey League. I know that our fans are truly going to enjoy watching this new brand of hockey and what it will offer.” concluded Coach Ferras. “We know there will be positive challenges jumping to the ECHL, and we are extremely confident that we will be very competitive and continue our tradition of winning and competing for a championship.”

Training camp for the Rush will begin shortly, and the Rush’s training camp is open only to full season ticket holders. Stay tuned for more information on further details regarding the Rush organization’s historic jump into the ECHL!

Other Rush News:

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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