(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced that defenseman Zach Tolkinen has been signed for the upcoming 2016-17 ECHL season.
“It is very hard to find top-caliber defensemen in our league. Our defense got that much better with Zach,” Rush Head Coach Mark DeSantis remarked on Tolkinen’s addition. “He is considered an ‘iron man’ defenseman when it comes to playing, as he almost rarely misses a game. Zach will be counted on to go against other teams top lines, and should be a big part of our penalty kill.”
Tolkinen came to the Rush this past summer to complete a previous future considerations trade with the Missouri Mavericks in exchange for forward Zach Cohen. The 6’3”, 190-pound blue-liner finished his second season as a professional, which was split between the Elmira Jackals (44 GP), and the Missouri Mavericks (30 GP). In the 74 total games he played, Tolkinen racked up 18 total points on the strength of 3 goals and 15 assists, finishing just one point shy of his career-high in a single campaign. Before his ascension to the professional ranks, the 26 year-old native of Lino Lakes, Minnesota played in 135 contests with the Quinnipiac Bobcats of the NCAA, and finished as a runner-up in 2013 for the NCAA National Championship.
“I’m excited and looking forward to a great year with a great team,” Tolkinen said of joining the Rush. “I try to play a two-way game out on the ice and be an all-around defenseman: I’ll eat minutes up in the d-zone and on the penalty kill, and try to contribute if I play on the power play. My biggest expectation for myself and this team is to win. As a professional hockey player, I love winning, and with that being said, we’ll do the best we can as a team to accomplish that.”
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