(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced today that forwards Anthony Collins and Reid Halabi have been signed for the upcoming 2016-17 ECHL season. Collins and Halabi become the eighth and ninth forwards to join the team for next year.
Collins, 26, comes to the Black Hills entering into his fifth season of professional hockey. The 6’4”, 216-pound forward played for the Quad City Mallards last season in 52 games, recording 7 points (3 G, 4 Ast) and 94 PIM, which is the third-largest single-season total in his career. In the previous four seasons, the Langley, British Columbia native has played in 132 ECHL games with Quad City and the South Carolina Stingrays, compiling 20 career points and 354 PIM. Prior to turning pro, Collins jumped around the junior ranks in five seasons, appearing predominately in the BCHL, MJHL, and SJHL with 7 different teams.
“For me, it was huge to sign with the Rush. I was looking for a change and when the opportunity arose to sign with Coach DeSantis and the Rush, I was happy to sign my name on the line,” Collins said of his change of scenery to Rapid City. “This organization has always put a first-class product out on the ice. I remember playing with Quad City in the 2015 Kelly Cup playoffs in Rapid and will never forget how awesome the fans were, especially in Game 7. I am an energy guy, and am willing to battle for my teammates; I create space for our forwards up front and life hard on our opponent. This team has a deep playoff run in store for this season, and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
“Collins is a player I know well going back to my coaching days in Fayetteville when he was with the Mississippi Surge in the SPHL. He was a player that I tried to acquire when I coached in Brampton, and is a player that I saw even more when he was with Quad City,” Rush Head Coach Mark DeSantis explained of Collins’ acquisition. “Anthony brings an element of toughness and an ability to play regularly to our lineup. Talking to Anthony, he’s working extremely hard this summer to be in the best possible shape and is very excited for the opportunity to be playing in Rapid City.”
Halabi, 21, joins the Rush after spending parts of his rookie season with the Fort Wayne Komets and the Allen Americans. Despite entering his second season as a professional, the 5’10”, 192-pound forward maintains his rookie status because he played less than 25 professional games last season between both clubs, playing 20 games while recording a goal and an assist for 2 points with 104 total PIM. Before jumping to the professional ranks, the Edmonton, Alberta native spent two seasons in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats and Chicoutimi Sangueneens, racking up 330 PIM in 101 games between both clubs along with 14 points.
“It’s a pleasure to have signed with a great organization in Rapid City. I didn’t know much about the team when I signed, but when I did, I realized I was coming into a great situation in the ECHL,” Halabi said of his arrival to the Rush. “I’m a great teammate, plain and simple. I try to show everyone, both on the ice and in the locker room, that I’m there for them. I’m just as much a blue collar teammate as I am a blue collar player. I expect to understand my role on this team and bring intensity, not just in physical nature, but with solid defensive presence and hard work every night.”
DeSantis added on Halabi: “Reid is a player that is known for his physical play and his presence on the ice. We expect Reid to come in and be a high-energy, physical player for us.”
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