(RAPID CITY, SD) – Today, the Rapid City Rush were hard at work in trying to improve the team in the present, and build the organization for the future of Rush hockey. Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault and Assistant Coach Nello Ferrara put together four deals that brought in six players, and one to be named later, in exchange for four players, of which included Alternate Captain Josh Elmes, and Captain Riley Weselowski.
“First and foremost, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Riley and Josh for EVERYTHING they have done not just for our team, but the community of Rapid City most importantly,” said Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault. “This was an emotional day: trading these players was not easy. At the end of the day, there is a sense of urgency to turn things around in our organization. We made these trades for these incredibly gifted young players that will help us both immediately, and in the future for upcoming seasons. At the end of the day, you need to trade great players to get great players, and we wouldn’t make these deals if we didn’t believe in the players that we would receive.”
“In turn,” Tetrault continued, “not only did we execute exactly what our plan was for this trade deadline in improving the team, but now both Riley and Josh now have a chance to play playoff hockey and potentially win a Kelly Cup Championship. We asked both Riley and Josh if it was acceptable to trade them for these great players, out of respect for what they’ve done for our team, and they said yes. If they didn’t, then our trade deadline day would’ve been dramatically different. Our fans deserve a winner, and blockbuster moves like this will help us bring just that.”
“I want to thank the loyal fan base of the Rush from this season and year’s past. I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of this organization, but I’m also looking forward to joining an instant contender with the Florida Everblades,” said Riley Weselowski of the trade to Florida. “The most memorable season of my hockey career was, without a doubt, the 2009-10 championship season with the Rush. I joined that team in late January and was a small piece in helping push that team over the edge, and I hope it’s the same for the Everblades this season in joining before the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
“I am extremely optimistic for the future of the Rapid City Rush. I know that the deals made today couldn’t have been easy on anyone in the organization, but it’s important to understand that they were made in the best interests of the team’s future,” Weselowski concluded. “The new ownership with Jeff Dickerson, and our new President to be announced tomorrow, leads me to believe there will be a bright future for this team. I want to thank Coach Tetrault and Coach Ferrara for everything over the last few seasons, and for a chance to chase a championship down in Florida. Thank you so much to Scott Mueller, and past owners Barry and Luke Peterson, and Donnie Ward, as well as the whole front office staff for these nine seasons in the Black Hills.”
“Riley has been the backbone of our team and organization for a long time,” Tetrault said of his former teammate and his Captain of the last two seasons. “We joke about it constantly, but he really is the ‘mayor’ in the sense that he’s accomplished so much with our team, and has been a force in the community, promoting both the team and the sport. I wish Riley, Kelly, and his son Collin nothing but the best, and hope he brings home a Kelly Cup this season.”
“I’ve been very happy here in Rapid City. The fans are great, and everyone in the community and in the organization treated me with respect and loyalty. I can’t thank those people enough,” Elmes said of going to the Komets. “In a way, I’m happy that my trade worked out for Coach Tetrault because not only is he serious about changing this team with the players he received in the deals, but it also showed how much he cares about the players. He sent me to a team that is ready to contend for a championship. You never know when your career will come to a close, and seeing as how I don’t know how much time I have left, I now have a chance to go out with a bang and play for a Kelly Cup. To future professional hockey players, I recommend coming here. It’s a choice you certainly won’t regret. I know that I didn’t.
“To Coach Tetrault and Coach Ferrara, thank you so much for everything. If it wasn’t for those two, my career probably wouldn’t have been,” Elmes added. “They let me play, instilled their faith in me, and worked so hard to improve me as a person and player. Because of that dedication, I have a hockey career, and am now in position to play playoff hockey. I can’t thank them enough for all they do for us and the game, and wish them the best. This past year, the new ownership, the new President, and everything taken into account, there are great things are coming for the Rush.”
“For Josh,” Tetrault added of Elmes, “he was such an unsung hero for us these last two seasons, and truly a ‘diamond in the rough’. His hardnosed play and leadership helped lead us to growth in the character of our locker room from last year into this season. I wish him the best moving forward with the Komets, and hope he brings that intensity when the playoffs come around next month.
“I’ll be honest Rush Nation, Coach Ferrara and I were called about even more deals because teams recognize that we have something special here,” Tetrault ended. “Due to the performance of this year’s team, we were completely in control of a ‘seller’s market’. We had, and still have, multiple players from teams that are front runners for the Kelly Cup this season that were willing to give us much for more than ‘market price’, if you will. Our players work hard. Other teams HATE playing us because we don’t stop working. The players we received will play into that culture, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here, with respect to the end of this season and the start of next year.”
The Rush continue their six consecutive matchups against the Utah Grizzlies, with the first three coming this week in Rapid City. Puck drop for game two on Friday, March 8th is slated for 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.