(RAPID CITY, SD) – Tomorrow night, the Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, will retire the #30 of legendary Rush goaltender, current Radio Broadcast Analyst, and Goaltending Coach, Danny Battochio.
Tomorrow night, Danny Battochio will suit up for the Rapid City Rush.
This is NOT a joke.
Battochio has signed a Standard Player’s Contract and will be on the bench tomorrow night following his jersey retirement ceremony.
“This is a unique situation, with an injury to our goaltending tandem just before the series against Quad City, but I am happy he’ll be there on the bench and in the locker room for his leadership qualities,” said Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault, who was a teammate of Battochio’s in the 2014-15 ECHL season. “He’s backing up, but you never know…‘The Batman’ could see some action this weekend!
“On a serious note, there is no person or player more deserving than ‘The Batman’ to have his jersey retired,” Coach Tetrault continued. “His commitment to this organization and community has been unbelievable throughout his time here. He was just a great a leader off the ice as he was on it. He’s a great human being, and a family man as well, and I’m excited we get to celebrate his career tomorrow.”
This is not the first time that Battochio has come out of retirement to play for the Rush once again. Last season, he replaced Adam Morrison in net for the final period of the season against the arch rival Colorado Eagles, and stopped all 7 shots in relief in a 3-1 loss.
“This is something that's unfolded in the last few days very quickly. The ceremony will be something very special for me to share with friends, family, fans and I very much look forward to it,” said Danny Battochio, who will become the second player in team history to have a number retired. “I guess this is a unique situation where you get the opportunity again to stop a puck, so why not! I love the game.”
Tomorrow night, no other player in the history of Rapid City Rush hockey will wear the #30 that Battochio wore throughout his 8-year professional career. Dubbed “The Batman” by teammates and Rush fans alike, Battochio was instrumental in the success of the Rush from the early years of the team’s inception. As a rookie in the 2009-10 CHL Season, Battochio surged onto the scene as a reliable option to lead a goaltending tandem. He posted a record of 28-5-6 with a 2.60 GAA and .917 SV% with the wins, GAA, and SV% serving still to this day as franchise records for a rookie goaltender in Rush history. He received 2010 CHL Rookie of the Year honors, and backstopped the Rush to the 2010 Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Championship with a postseason record of 12-4-0 in 16 games along with a 2.73 GAA and .910 SV%. His shining moment in that postseason came in Game 6 of the 2010 CHL Finals, when he helped the Rush clinch the title by stopping 46 of 49 shots in a 4-3 double-overtime win against the Allen Americans on home ice.
“I don’t have too many expectations on tomorrow night. I just want to enjoy the next few days and relish the opportunity to be competitive again with the sport,” Battochio added. “A lot has happened for me and the family in the last few weeks so this will add another element of fun in our lives. I am truly blessed and honored that tomorrow night is even happening, from both the jersey retirement and being back on the team, and just hope that the weekend turns out well for our fans and our team against Quad City.”
A native of Lively, Ontario, Battochio spent 7 of his 8 professional seasons in Rapid City, amassing an overall record of 131-81-21 with a 2.61 GAA, .912 SV%, and 12 shutouts in 253 games. Throughout his whole career at the major-junior, Canadian college, and professional levels with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s, St. Francis Xavier University, Beibarys Atyrau in Kazakhstan, and the Rush, “The Batman” NEVER had a losing season.
“It’s Michael Jordan-esque, really. He retires, has his number retired, and comes out of retirement. It’s remarkable,” said Mark Binetti, Rush Radio Broadcaster concluding his fifth season, who has been a broadcast partner with Battochio for the last two seasons. “It’s hilarious that I need to keep telling people this isn’t a joke. He is seriously signed to the team. It should make tomorrow night even more special than it already is.
“I’m very much looking forward to the ceremony honoring Danny tomorrow. Our staff has worked so hard the last few weeks to make sure this ceremony is as respectful as possible, and goes off without a hitch. Add the fact that Danny will be on the bench in pads right after its all said and done adds to how special this weekend will be,” Binetti continued. “If it wasn’t apparent before, Danny is a warrior, consummate professional, and always did whatever he could for the betterment of the organization and his teammates. He is one of the best human beings I have ever had the pleasure to work with both in the locker room and in the broadcast booth, and couldn’t be happier for both he and his family. Tomorrow night will be something else, no doubt about that.”
The Rush play their final home games of the season this weekend against the Quad City Mallards. Friday’s game, normally schedule for 7:05 p.m. MST, will feature a special pregame presentation honoring Battochio and his career with a banner-raising, and words from Battochio himself.