(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced today that the longest tenured player in franchise history, defenseman Riley Weselowski, has returned to the Rush and is signed for the upcoming 2016-17 ECHL Season.
“When I heard that Riley was interested in returning to the Rush, I sat down with him and discussed his role, playing time, and leadership abilities for our team,” said Rush Head Coach Mark DeSantis. “I wanted to find out if this would be a good fit for the Rush and for Riley, and we came to an agreement that Riley will be a big part of our team in our goal of making the playoffs. The big thing about Riley is that you know you’re going to get an extremely high work ethic day-in and day-out. Even though he’s a bit older, he will instill a great leadership in our dressing room from his past experiences as a championship-caliber player.”
Weselowski comes back to the Black Hills after suiting up with the Cincinnati Cyclones last season. The 6’0”, 194-pound blueliner skated in 69 of 72 regular season games with Cincinnati and registered 2 goals, 12 assists, 14 points, and a +7 rating. Additionally, the veteran defenseman played in all 7 of the Cyclones playoff games against the rival Fort Wayne Komets, adding another assist in his seventh consecutive postseason as a professional.
“I think this is the most excited I’ve ever been in my now nine years as a professional heading into a season. I’m so happy to be home,” Weselowski said of his return. “I want to thank the fans for everything. There were so many that continued to support me while I was away in Cincinnati and I hope I can provide not only a familiar face for them, but excitement as well.” Weselowski added: “I remember a while back that Coach DeSantis once told me that the game gets easier when you turn 30 because you understand it so much more. Given the season I had last year in Cincinnati, I firmly believe that. My defensive game developed so much last year and I hope to shut things down for the Rush this season.”
A native of Pilot Mound, Manitoba, Weselowski, now 31, returns to the Rush for his ninth professional season. Of his nine seasons pro, all but two have been played with an “R” on his chest. Weselowski holds 11 Rush franchise records, including Games Played (318), +/- rating (+75 shared with Jesse Schultz), and is the all-time leading scorer in team history among defensemen in all three major categories with 25 goals, 109 assists, and 135 points to his credit. The veteran of 387 games in the pro ranks first came to the Rush in the 2009/10 CHL Season, where the former Idaho Steelhead was part of the 2010 Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Championship team that defeated the Allen Americans. Before his ascension to the professional ranks, Weselowski skated with the NCAA’s Bemidji State Beavers and notched 8 goals, 31 assists, and 39 points in 124 games across four seasons.
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