(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced via a Black Hills Chiropractic Roster Adjustment at “Fan Fest” last Saturday that free agent forwards Avery Peterson and Alex Rodriguez have been signed for the 2020-21 ECHL Season.
Peterson and Rodriguez both became free agents upon the Atlanta Gladiators and Norfolk Admirals, respectively, electing to invoke a voluntary Covid-19 suspension, per the ECHL. In separate transactions, forward Bo Brauer and goaltender Hayden Lavigne were released from their contracts, while forward Tanner Karty has retired from professional hockey.
Peterson comes to the Rush following a breakout 2019-20 campaign with the Atlanta Gladiators. The 6’3”, 210-pound forward registered career-highs in every category with 16 goals, 13 assists, and 29 points in 51 games.
“From the moment I was told I was a free agent and Coach Tetrault called me, I felt an immediate connection with Rapid City. I’m happy to have a home with the Rush,” Peterson said of signing with the team. “I bring a big, physical game up front. I love hitting and making plays, and hope to bring energy to our locker room. Coming off of a big year last season, I expect to maintain my momentum, but also expect to win with a first-class organization. I look forward to meeting everyone in Rapid City, and thank the team for welcoming me in such a unique time.”
“I’m very excited to add two high quality players in Avery and Alex to our organization. Both are coming off of breakout years, and will add value to our forward lines,” said Rush Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Daniel Tetrault. “Starting with Avery, he is a proven winner as a part of an NCAA championship team that brings a huge frame to our center position. He uses his size to achieve success up the middle of the ice, and has a great shot as well. I expect him to win big draws for us, while also chip in big goals in tough-to-play areas on the ice.”
A native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Peterson enters his third season of professional hockey, all at the ECHL level. He has skated in 92 ECHL contests with the Gladiators, Idaho Steelheads, Norfolk Admirals, and Indy Fuel, amassing 20 goals, 24 assists, and 44 points. Prior to playing professionally, Peterson skated four seasons in the NCAA with the University of Nebraska-Omaha (2014-2016) and the University of Minnesota-Duluth (2016-2018), earning 24 goals and 48 points in 108 games. With UNO, Peterson was selected to the 2015 NCHC Academic All-Conference Team in addition to winning the 2017 NCHC Championship. While at UMD, he won the 2018 NCAA National Championship. Peterson was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the 2013 NHL Draft (6th Round-#167).
Rodriguez joins the Rush after completing a successful rookie season with the Norfolk Admirals. The 6’0”, 190-pound forward earned 16 goals, 13 assists, and 29 points in 58 games, finishing as the Admirals second-leading scorer.
“In speaking with former teammates of mine, as well as my former USHL and current Tucson Roadrunners Head Coach Jay Varady, I heard nothing but great things about Rapid City. I’m happy to have a home with the Rush organization,” Rodriguez said of his signing. “I bring three key elements to hockey everywhere I go: energy, speed, and a shot mentality. I try to skate north with the puck as much as possible, and do my best to position myself well for high-percentage scoring changes. My expectation is to win. I’m coming into camp with a ton of confidence from last year, and am joining a roster that has great potential. Let’s go out and win the Kelly Cup!”
“Regarding Alex, he brings outstanding skating ability and speed to our wings,” Tetrault elaborated on Rodriguez. “Alex has a nose for the net, which is hard to teach. He’s well positioned, brings a ton of energy, and can really fly through all three zones on the ice. I have confidence that both Avery and Alex can continue to build off of their great 2019-20 seasons and be a major part of our success in 2020-21.”
A native of Miami, Florida, Rodriguez turned professional in the 2018-19 season with Norfolk following his college career. He averaged just shy of a point-per-game in his first 11 professional appearances, earning 5 goals and 10 points. Before turning pro, Rodriguez played four seasons of college hockey, two in the NCAA with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and two in NCAA-III with Augsburg University. With Augsburg, he was a standout in his 2018-19 senior season, earning 21 goals and 40 points in 26 games. That year, he was named to the AHCA First All-American Team, All-USCHO Second Team, MIAC All-Conference Team, and won the MIAC Championship.
Season Tickets for the 2020-21 season are available! For more information, visit our Season Ticket Holder Page. To place a deposit, call 716-7825, or click HERE.