(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced today that the 2015 ECHL All-Star duo of defenseman Garrett Haar and forward Brendan Walker has been signed for the 2016-17 ECHL season. Haar joins the d-corps featuring Michael Young and Riley Weselowski, while Walker joins the forward lines with Ryan Walters, Josh MacDonald, Lindsay Sparks, Ryan Misiak, and Brett Perlini.
Haar joins the Rush defensive unit after finishing his second season as a professional with the Alaska Aces. Last year in Anchorage, the 6’0”, 207-pound blue-liner registered 2 goals and 12 assists for 14 points, tying a career-high for assists in a season. Before joining the Aces, Haar began his pro career with the South Carolina Stingrays where he scored 4 goals with 12 assists for 16 points in 35 games. His efforts earned him the opportunity to represent the ECHL All-Stars that took on the host Orlando Solar Bears in the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic. Prior to turning pro, the Huntington Beach, CA native played one season with the USHL’s Fargo Force, two seasons with Western Michigan University in the NCAA, and one season with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. Haar was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 2011 NHL Draft (7th Rd-#207).
“I’m extremely excited to be playing for the Rush next season. Playing with Alaska last year, I got the chance to play in Rapid City and I was impressed with the fan base and atmosphere,” Haar stated of his arrival to the Rush. “On the ice I feel I bring control. I can quarterback a power play, have a great first pass up the ice, and I pick and choose when I jump in on the Rush. Last year with Alaska, we didn’t have the best season, so this year I’m looking to team up with this roster that has so many great guys on it and win some hockey games.”
“Garrett is a defenseman that we saw quite frequently last year when we played against the Aces. Being a former defenseman myself, I always look at other team’s D and Garrett was a player that stood out to me,” Rush Head Coach Mark DeSantis said of Haar. “I really like the way he skated and moved the puck. The most valuable asset he has as a player is that he can play on both sides of the blue line. He played with Michael Young in South Carolina, and when I talked to Younger about getting Garrett he had nothing but great things to say about his play. We’re very excited to have a player of Garrett’s caliber, and I expect a big season from him.”
Walker joins the Rush forwards after spending last season overseas with the EIHL’s Coventry Blaze. In England, the 6’0”, 172-pound forward went just shy of a point-per-game, recording 16 points (10 G, 6 Ast) in 19 games. Walker brings 123 games of ECHL experience to the Black Hills, skating with the then-Gwinnett Gladiators and the Utah Grizzlies, totaling 46 goals, 47 assists, and 93 points in his tenure in the “Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League”. His play in the early stages of the 2014-15 ECHL season earned him the opportunity to represent the ECHL All-Stars against the Orlando Solar Bears in the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic. Prior to playing professionally, Walker notched 228 points 269 games across four seasons in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Saskatoon Blades, the latter of which he served as captain, and won an MJHL championship with the Portage Terriers.
“We’re delighted to have a player like Brenden. We tried to acquire him two years ago, but he ended up in Utah. When I found out he was available and wanted to play in the ECHL this season, I had many talks with him and fortunate for us, he wanted to sign here,” DeSantis added on Walker. “Brenden is a highly skilled forward that can be a point-per-game player in this league, and he can also be used to quarterback our power play on the back end for us. As a fourth-year professional, I expect Brenden to come in and be a leader and put points on the board for our team next season.”
“I’m excited for this. This is a great opportunity with a great organization, and I hope my contributions and hard work in preparing for this season pay off,” Walker said of joining the Rush. “For me, I have to have the puck. I’m at my best when I’m setting up plays, shooting, and scoring. I’m ready to play a lot of offense, but am also responsible defensively too. I’ve done my fair share in pro hockey and hope to use that and be a leader in the locker room and help my teammates win a championship.”
Other Rush News:
Our summer blowout sale rages on! Come to the Rush Team Store in our team offices in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and take advantage of 50% off of EVERYTHING! If you shop online, use the promo code “BLOWOUT” to save big!