(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced their first player signing of the 2016-17 ECHL season. Defenseman Michael Young returns to Rapid City for his second full, and third overall season with the Rapid City Rush.
Young returned to the Rush last season after establishing himself a major impact for the club in its 2015 Kelly Cup Playoff run. In his first full season in the Black Hills, Young registered career-highs with 4 goals, 14 assists, and 18 points, while also establishing a +3 rating. The 6’3”, 220-pound defenseman was on pace for a major breakout season on the Rush blue line, however a string of unfortunate injuries limited him to accomplish what he did in only 35 games.
“We are very excited to have Michael Young back in our lineup,” said Rush Head Coach Mark DeSantis. “I believe that he can be a top-five defenseman in the ECHL, and will be counted on as a top leader for our hockey club. Michael is a guy that can log a lot of minutes, be a top power play threat, can also play as a top penalty-killer, and can match up against other team’s top lines. All in all, he is a well-rounded defenseman that we are counting on to lead our hockey club.”
“I’m very happy to be back. It’s great knowing that next season I’ll be playing for the Rush again,” Young said of his return to the Black Hills. “Dealing with the injuries was tough last season, but I think I stayed positive and made sure that whether I was healthy or not that I was at the rink and I was constantly working to better myself mentally and physically.” With respect to expectations for next season, Young continued: “The biggest thing for me this upcoming season is that Coach wants a lot of leadership out of me. I think given my injuries last year I led by example when I could. Given that I was both a college and junior-A captain, Coach stressed to me to be sure I was ready to take on such a role next season and do whatever I can to be as effective as I was when I was in the lineup last year.”
Young enters his third season of professional hockey this upcoming fall and now has 76 ECHL games to his credit between the South Carolina Stingrays (33 GP, 2 Ast), and the Rapid City Rush (43 GP, 4 G-15 Ast-19 Pts). Prior to playing professionally, the 27 year-old Calgary, Alberta native was a standout defenseman and team captain with his alma mater, the NCAA’s University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he recorded 68 points on the strength of 13 goals and 55 assists in 148 total games over the course of four seasons. Following the conclusion of his collegiate career, Young was signed to an AHL contract with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
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