(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced today the next two members of the 2010 CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Championship Rush team that will return for the opening weekend celebration of their title. Defensemen Gio Flamminio and Dave Grimson will be present for the championship festivities in Rapid City as the Rush open the 2019-20 ECHL season against the Utah Grizzlies on October 25th and 26th.
Flamminio and Grimson join teammates Danny Battochio, Derek Campbell, Brendan Cook, and Colt King from the 2009-10 Rapid City Rush in attending the opening weekend festivities.
Follow the link to buy your tickets for the weekend series against the Grizzlies, and to see Gio, Dave, Colt, Danny, Derek, and Brendan here: http://www.gotmine.com/events/detail/rush1. Flamminio was a member of the inaugural Rapid City Rush team in 2008-09, and returned to the blue line for the 2009-10 season, marking his fifth season as a professional. The 6’0”, 185-pound defenseman appeared in 52 games, and scored once along with 16 assists for 17 points, accompanied by 101 PIM and a +22 rating, which was the highest rating in his professional career. Flamminio followed this by playing in all but one of the team’s 17 playoff games, and added another 2 goals, 3 assists, and 5 points en route to the 2010 CHL Championship. His most significant playoff contribution came in the deciding sixth game of the 2010 CHL Finals. Trailing 3-0 to the Allen Americans, Flamminio scored the first goal of the game for the Rush with 7:58 left in the second period, sparking a three-goal comeback to force an eventual double-overtime period that the Rush clinched the title in.
“I really can’t believe it’s been 10 years. It seems like it happened yesterday in a lot of ways, and is a strong reminder that I’m pushing 36 years old,” Flamminio reminisced ahead of the Opening Weekend festivities. “Winning a championship is special to everyone, but it was even more special being a part of this team in the first season of Rush hockey. We didn’t make playoffs that year, but had key pieces in place and the additions we made that second year really put us on a different level. It was evident early that we had something special going on, and it was awesome being a part of the journey from day one.
“We were such a resilient group, and the camaraderie was something that I will always cherish,” Flamminio added. “My time in Rapid City was the most joyous of my playing career. I played with some amazing players, and got to cultivate friendships with even better people. To the fans, thank you. It is impossible to describe the feeling of high-stepping along the blue line when your name is announced for starting lineups and a capacity crowd cheers for you. Truth be told, we couldn’t have hung the banners without YOU!”
A native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Flamminio proceeded to play four more seasons of professional hockey, two of which came with the Rush, before retiring in the middle of the 2013-14 CHL season. In his nine-year professional career, he played one season in the ECHL with the Mississippi Seawolves, and the other eight in the CHL with the Oklahoma City Blazers, Tulsa Oilers, and the Rush, compiling career totals of 32 goals, 130 assists, and 162 points in 498 games. He played in 187 games with the Rush over the course of four seasons, and earned 9 goals, 55 assists, and 64 points. His 64 points in a Rush uniform earned him a share of the third-highest point total for a Rush defenseman all-time, shared with fellow 2010 Champion Jamie VanderVeeken, and his 55 assists are the third-most for a defenseman in Rush history. Prior to playing professionally, Flamminio played one season of NCAA hockey with Ferris State University, and three seasons of junior hockey with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. With the Klippers, he was twice named a First Team All-Star Selection (2004, 2005), and was named the SJHL’s Best Defenseman in 2005.
Grimson joined the Rush in 2009-10 for his first full year as a professional after earning his first pro experience with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays in the previous season. The 6’1”, 192-pound defenseman suited up in 53 games, and earned 4 goals, 15 assists, and 19 points, along with a career-high +7 rating. He appeared in all 17 playoff games in the postseason, and tacked on an additional 2 goals, 7 assists, and 9 points with a +6 rating. Grimson had a stellar conclusion to the 2010 CHL Playoffs, finishing with a 5-game assist streak and 7-game point streak, both of which remain franchise postseason records for defensemen and rookies alike. His record-setting streaks concluded with an assist on Scott Wray’s championship-winning goal with 32 seconds left in double-overtime.
“It’s pretty crazy to think it’s been 10 years already. It will be interesting to see how much hair has been lost and weight has been added over the years when we reconnect as a team!” Grimson exclaimed as he provided his thoughts on his return for Opening Weekend. “I have nothing but fond memories of my time in Rapid City. I was basically fresh out of college, only playing a few games with the Stingrays before making it to the Rush. It took a couple months of playing to really get used to the flow of being a professional. The fans, the support from the community, and support from the ownership are still things I brag about to this day, and truly helped me adjust. The way we were treated everywhere in town was incredible.
“Looking back at the first couple rounds, we knew we had a heck of a team. I don’t think it ever really kicked in that we could win it all until we beat Bossier-Shreveport in the Conference Finals,” Grimson added. “That was the most difficult round for us, but once we got through that round, we had a lot of confidence going into the Finals with Allen. I kept telling myself in Game 6 against Allen that I can’t think about winning…don’t get ahead of ourselves, just go out there and do the job, and sure enough, we did. I’m very much looking forward to spending some time back in Rapid City, re-living these memories, and seeing some familiar faces. I know all the boys are just as excited to be back as I am!”
Hailing from Mozart, Saskatchewan, Grimson played two more seasons professionally with the Rush, and retired following the end of the 2011-12 CHL Season. In his career, all but 9 games were played in a Rush uniform, amassing totals of 11 goals, 46 assists, and 57 points in 129 games. Grimson finished his Rush career as the fifth-highest scoring and assisting defenseman, and the all-time leading scoring defenseman in the playoffs with 26 points (6g-20ast) in 36 games. He holds several other single postseason records, including most goals (3) and points (11) by a defenseman, and most assists (7), points (9), and highest rating (+6) for a rookie. Before becoming a professional, he played four seasons of NCAA hockey at Sacred Heart University, registering 74 points in 137 games, and finished his senior season as the Captain.
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