(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush announced today that forward Shaquille Merasty has re-signed with the Rush for the upcoming 2018-19 ECHL season.
Merasty came to the Rush last season on a trade with the Wichita Thunder for future considerations. Starting the season in the “Air Capital”, Merasty notched 5 points with the Thunder (3g-2ast) in 20 games before blossoming with the Rush. Following the trade, the 6’2”, 185-pound forward earned 7 points with the Rush in 8 games (2g-5ast) with a +5 rating, before suffering an injury that shortened his stay in the Black Hills.
“Rapid City is a great city, and I was very appreciative of the opportunities I got with Coach Tetsy and the organization, so it was a no-brainer to come back to the Rush for next season. I’m excited for the fresh start to contribute right out of the gate,” Merasty noted on returning to the Rush. “For the team, everyone’s goal has to be the same goal, and that’s to get into the playoffs first and foremost. The old saying goes ‘get into the dance and anything can happen’, right? So I’m looking to help this team string some wins together for a playoff berth. For myself, it’s good to feel wanted, and I plan on taking advantage of this opportunity and showing the coaches that they made the right choice in wanting me. I want to put up some points and end in the positive on my plus/minus like I did prior to my injury, but also play a strong, reliable 200-foot game on the ice.”
“At the time we acquired Shaq, we were in the midst of some injuries and call-ups, so I threw him right into the fire and he embraced the opportunity. He contributed so much to our team before his injury, so I had to bring him back,” Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault said of Merasty’s re-signing. “With a 0-0 record, and his injury healed, I’m giving Shaq this new season and fresh start to pick up from where he left off. Shaq is a big body, and a tough player that goes to the dirty areas to provide offense for our team. He was versatile up front, playing both wing and center for me, and brought a strong work ethic to the locker room.
“One of the most important things about Shaq,” Coach Tetrault continued, “is his willingness to shoot the puck. In Wichita, he managed 38 shots on goal in 20 games, but with us he racked up 42 in just 8. It shows me that once he got his playing time, he took advantage of it and tried to be a factor every night. I’m very excited to have him back.”
Prior to playing professionally, the Thompson, Manitoba native played for the University of Manitoba in USports, and collected 74 points (33g-41ast) in 82 games, playing with current Rush defenseman, Josh Elmes, for a season. Additionally, he played junior hockey in the MJHL with the Portage Terriers, and won back-to-back MJHL Championships in 2011 and 2012.
For more information on season ticket packages for our 11th season of hockey in the Black Hills, call the Rush office at 716-7825.