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"FROM DEFENSEMAN TO PENMAN": GIO FLAMMINIO

Thursday, October 24th
"FROM DEFENSEMAN TO PENMAN": GIO FLAMMINIO

Gio Flamminio graced the locker room of the Rapid City Rush for four of his nine-season professional career as a defenseman. With 498 games to his credit, and an additional 56 in the playoffs, he has played with many different teammates and coaches, interacted and made friends with countless fans, and has an infinite number of stories and anecdotes from his time in professional hockey. A man of many words and a superfluous vocabulary, Flamminio has decided to keep track of those stories like all hockey players with his skillset can.

He’s going to write a book.

“The initial inspiration for this didn’t come until the latter stages of my career when I played in Tulsa,” Flamminio said. “At the time, I kind of knew that my journey was coming to an end, and wanted a way to somehow document everything. A few of my Oilers teammates and I would reminisce about some of the crazier stories we’d experienced over the years. Before you know it, I started to write stuff down.”

The working title is “Memoirs in the Minors”, and Flamminio hopes to showcase the highs, lows, grind, characters, and stories of what a life in minor league hockey is all about.  From his first years with the Oklahoma City Blazers, to winning the CHL Championship with the Rush, to the final years of his career in Tulsa, the overarching narrative is deep enough to make you feel as if you were on bus next to the defenseman as he traveled countless hours around the country playing the sport he loves professionally.

“It’s always fun to reflect back,” Flamminio recalled fondly. “Honestly, I don’t miss the grind or the lifestyle, or even playing as much as I thought I would. What I do miss, though, is the boys: the camaraderie of all those awesome teams I played on and the experiences we shared, suiting up and going to war together. And the laughs man…so many laughs.”

And yes, Rush fans, the former #3 will write fondly of the 2010 Championship Season.

“The 2009-10 championship year will have a full chapter dedicated to that run,” Flamminio added as he reminisced. “To be honest, that year was another inspiration for the book. About four years ago, I composed a condensed summary of the playoff run form that season on Facebook and tagged all the fellas. The response was overwhelming.”

Of course, that chapter isn’t specifically dedicated to hockey.

“We did a lot of crazy things that year, on and off the ice,” the professional athlete turned author mentioned slyly.

Just like all authors, Flamminio has endured a few challenges in constructing what is expected to be an entertaining, and educational work of literature.

“I originally hoped for a 2020 release date, but life has been very busy. A seven-year-old daughter and a career with minimal downtime has not afforded me much time to dedicate to the book,” Flamminio commented. “The truth is, so much has been forgotten over the years. A large portion of the work is reaching out to past teammates and coaches to collect their fondest memories.”

This weekend is perfect timing for Flamminio, as he will see 16 of his former teammates this in Rapid City as the 2009-10 Rush team reunites for a 10-year anniversary celebration of their CHL championship.

“It’s going to be awesome to see my teammates again. This weekend will better help me piece together not only the championship season, but also my time in Rapid City.”

Flamminio’s memories don’t just pertain to the glory season of 2009-10. He played with the Rush from 2008 as a member of the inaugural team until 2011, before heading to Tulsa for a pair of seasons. He came back to the Rush in the 2013-14 season, until he ultimately retired from professional hockey. In the Black Hills, the defenseman played in 187 games and earned 9 goals, 55 assists, and 64 points. Regardless of whether he’s gathering content for his book, or reliving memories of days gone by, he can’t wait for the weekend to come.

“It will be a rekindling of friendships, revisiting the laughs, and recollections of the battles won and lost…it will be great to be recognized,” he said. “What we did in 2010 as a team, as a COMMUNITY, no one can ever take that from us. The least I can do is put it down on paper. I can almost guarantee laughter, inspiration, and tears for anyone willing to give it a read!”

Flamminio hopes that by the time he turns 40 in 2024, his memoirs will be available on the bookshelves. Until then, we’ll all share this weekend as a team and as a community to remember fondly and vividly the 2009-10 season that served as an inspiration for his project.

For their 12th Opening Weekend in team history, the Rush will play host to Mountain Division rival Utah. Puck drop for the first home games of the season, Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th is slated for 7:05 p.m. MDT at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena. Throughout the weekend, the Rush will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the team’s 2010 CHL Championship, with 17 alumni players from the team attending the weekend series. Friday’s game features a tailgate party from 4:30-6:30, and red rally towels, provided by Vast Broadband, will be on every seat in the arena. The team will wear specialty red jerseys both nights, modeled after the ones the 2010 team wore the night they clinched the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Championship. The jerseys will be auctioned off live following Saturday night’s game. 

Tickets for all 36 games are on sale now! Visit www.rapidcityrush.com to purchase yours today!

Download the Rapid City Rush App on iTunes and GooglePlay to keep up to speed on all Rush news as we approach the 2019-20 ECHL season!

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