(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush announced today that rookie forward Willem Nong-Lambert has been signed for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
Nong-Lambert also comes back to the Rush after completing last season in the Black Hills with the team last year. The 6’3”, 195-pound forward finished just shy of a point-per-game pace with the Rush, tabulating his first pro goal with 3 assists for 4 points in the final 5 games of the season. He ended with a career-high 3-point night, notching 3 assists in the 9-6 win against the Tulsa Oilers in the final game of the season.
“The value of respect goes a long way. Simply put, that is what made me come back to the Rapid City Rush. I couldn’t be more excited,” said Nong-Lambert on his return for his rookie season. “The coaches, support staff, front office, and my teammates were super professional. We were treated like pros the whole time we were there, and for that I’m very thankful.” Regarding last season and his preparation for October, he continued: “Playing for the Rush was an eye-opening experience for me. When I got there, there was no way we could make the playoffs, so for me, it was just about taking things one day, one shift at a time. My first day in town, I had a light skate with Adam Marsh, but then the next day, my first team practice was crazy: I got put on a line with Peter Sivak, our team’s leading goal-scorer, and from there got lots of time on special teams, so I just tried to take it all in and show what I could bring to the team. My game is an all around style. If I had to label it, I’d say I’m a power forward that can score, play with skill, use my size to my advantage, and carry the puck towards the net. I hope to showcase all of that when October comes to help us win games.”
“When we last talked about Adam Marsh, I discussed bringing in new blood: major-junior or college players looking to go pro so I could build for next season, and Willem was a part of that process as well. I loved his size up front, and the fact that he properly used his size by showcasing his willingness to go to the net,” Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault commented on Nong-Lambert. “Nonger, first and foremost, is an outstanding young man with the right attitude necessary to play at the pro level. On top of the fact that he’s a great kid, he plays the right way: he’s not afraid to hit, not afraid to get punished in front of the net to score, and is physical on the forecheck. I’m happy to have Willem on board, and can’t wait to see what he can do in camp after training with Coach Ferrara all offseason long.”
“Similar to Adam Marsh, Willem has been training with me all summer as well, giving him an opportunity to be in pro conditioning heading into his first pro training camp,” Rush Assistant Coach Nello Ferrara said of Nong-Lambert. “Like Coach Tetrault said, Willem uses his size the way it’s meant to be used in hockey. His fearlessness around the net is the exact reason why he almost went a point-per-game with us last season. Between him and Marshy both being on a tough, two-hour-a-day-six-day-a-week NHL conditioning program, Nonger will only get better for his rookie season, and I’m very excited to see him play in October.”
A native of Urbandale, Iowa, Nong-Lambert came to the Rush following two years in NCAA-III hockey with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, finishing his pair of seasons with 58 points (20g-38ast) in 54 games while serving as Captain in his senior year and making the 2018 WIAC All-Conference team. Before playing with the Pointers, he spent two seasons with Western Michigan University in the NCAA, and three seasons playing between the NAHL’s Topeka Roadrunners and USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers and Des Moines Buccaneers.
For more information on season ticket packages for our 11th season of hockey in the Black Hills, call the Rush office at 716-7825.