Rush Sign Grimson and Ustrnul to Defense Corp
The Rapid City Rush announced today the signing of defenseman Dave Grimson and Libor Ustrnul for the 2010-11 season. The duo becomes the second and third defenseman signed so far this off-season and brings the roster total to seven skaters. Last week, the Rush announced the return of Blaine Jarvis, Luke Erickson and Riley Weselowski.
Check out all of the 2010 Off-Season Signings HERE
Grimson returns after a strong rookie season in which the Mozart, Saskatchewan native finished second among Rush defenseman in scoring. In 53 games played, he totaled 4 goals and 19 points and 35 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 180-pound defenseman had a very impressive postseason, leading all Rush defenseman with 9 points, including points in each of the last 7 games.
“We acquired Grimson after tremendous four years at Sacred Heart, it took a while for him to adjust,” said Head Coach Joe Ferras. “But once he gained confidence and played to his abilities, he was an incredible asset and became one of our top d-men, specifically through playoffs and run to a championship. He’ll be attending American Hockey League (AHL) camp in September and it will be a great test for him. He’ll get a chance to see what he needs to do to make it to that level and get accustomed to the caliber of hockey so he can eventually make that jump.”
Grimson, 26, enters his second professional season after playing four years at Sacred Heart University (SHU). In 137 collegiate contests, Grimson collected 16 goals and 74 points as well as 181 penalty minutes. His best statistical season came as a sophomore where he led SHU defenseman in points (25) and finished second among league defenseman with 21 assists. As a junior, he served as assistant captain, led all SHU defenseman in scoring for second straight year, and was named to the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic Team. Finally, during his senior campaign, Grimson served as team captain and also received Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week honors (Dec. 22nd).
“I’m very excited to come back to Rapid City,” said Grimson. “The set up for the players is great and the town, specifically the fans are unbelievable. I had such a great experience last year and I’m looking forward to defending the title this season.”
After completing his senior season, Grimson joined the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). In the final 8 games of the 2008-09 season, he picked up one goal and a pair of assists.
Ustrnul brings back an immense presence on the Rush blueline, standing at 6’6”, 247 lbs. The Sternberk, Czech Republic native was drafted in round #2, 42nd overall, by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Entering his 8th professional season, Ustrnul has competed in 250 career games and collected over 500 penalty minutes.
“We’re really excited to have Libor back this season,” stated Ferras. “By working out incredibly hard and shedding over 40 pounds, it shows his great commitment to the upcoming season. Last year, when he was healthy, Libor was a key factor 5-on-5 and especially on penalty kill. Whenever you get a 6’6” d-man that can move like he does, that will help your team against any opposition.”
After taking a year off, Ustrnul joined the Rush for 21 games and picked up a pair of assists to go along with 49 penalty minutes before injuries shortened his season. Prior to that, he played three seasons in Europe with Karlovy Vary HC in the Czech Republic as well as HIFK Helsinki in Finland.
“I am very glad to be rejoining the Rush for next season,” stated Ustrnul. “After battling injuries last season, I am very hungry to come back strong this year. With Coach Ferras showing confidence in me, I know that with the work and commitment I’ve put in this summer to be in top shape, I’m expecting to have my best season as a professional.”
Ustrnul has extensive experience at the AHL level, playing in 114 games for the Chicago Wolves from 2001-05. The 28-year old has also played at the “AA” level, skating for the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL in 2004-05 where he picked up six points in just 17 games.
Players already returning from the Ray Miron President’s Cup Champion roster include forwards Brendon Hodge, Scott Wray, Blaine Jarvis, Luke Erickson and defenseman Riley Weselowski, Dave Grimson and Libor Ustrnul.