Rapid City Makes Huge Splash Signing Battochio and Hartinger
Today, the Rapid City Rush are making noise with a pair of big signings for the 2010-11 season. The Rush welcome back last season’s CHL Rookie of the Year in goaltender Danny Battochio and also add defenseman Vladimir Hartinger who will serve as player-assistant for the upcoming season. The signing bring the 2010-11 Rush roster total to 13 players.
Battochio returns after a stellar rookie campaign that culminated with a CHL Finals Game 6 victory to secure the Presidents’ Cup for Rapid City.
“To bring Danny back is obviously an enormous signing for the fans, Rapid City community and especially this hockey club,” said Rush head coach Joe Ferras. “As a first-year goaltender, Danny was a leader for this club and a top goaltender in CHL. We expect another great year from him and with his professionalism and work ethic, we can rely on him carry the work load for us this season.”
The 5’10”, 180-pound goaltender was the backstop for all of Rapid City’s post-season victories and finished with an impressive 12-4 record. In the cup-clinching Game 6 of the finals, Battochio shut the door for the final 80 minutes of the contest to seal the come-from-behind victory.
The Lively, Ontario native posted a remarkable 28-5-3 record to go along with a 2.57 goals against average (gaa) and .918 save percentage (sv%). Among the league’s leaders, Battochio finished the regular season ranked 2nd in wins, 3rd in GAA and 4th in sv%. From November 25th through January 19th, the netminder won 12 straight decisions and on February 16th, Battochio made 36 saves and collected his first career shutout in a 1-0 overtime win against the Colorado Eagles.
For his regular season efforts, Battochio was named Rookie of the Year on March 18th, marking the first-ever major end of the year award for the Rush. Just two days earlier, Battochio was also named to the All-Rookie team.
The rookie also appeared in the 2010 CHL All-Star Game, was named Goaltender of the Week on January 18th and earned Goaltender of the Month honors on February 4th.
“I'm thrilled to be back in a Rush uniform,” said Battochio. “What I have experienced in the last year has been one of the biggest highlights of my entire hockey career. I most certainly savored my time in Rapid and I want it to continue. Everything from the city and its energetic, loyal, and passionate fans made the decision to come back and defend the title all the more meaningful.”
Battochio played 3 years with St. Francis Xavier University as their starting goaltender and was co-MVP for the 2008-09 season. He posted a record of 15-11-0-2 in his final year at St. Francis Xavier and was an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) 2nd team All-Star. Battochio led all AUS goalies in games played with 26 and was 6th in the AUS with his 3.30 goals-against average. He also ended up 2nd in the AUS in both shutouts (2) and saves per game (26.12 avg/game). Battochio was awarded CIS Athlete of the Week honors the week of Jan. 11, 2009.
Battochio will begin his season by attending training camp with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League (AHL). This will be the goaltender’s second trip to AHL camp. Last season, while attending camp on a tryout basis, Battochio made the final roster of the Peoria Rivermen before returning to Rapid City.
The Rush also announced the acquisition of veteran defenseman Vladimir Hartinger who will serve as player-assistant alongside Scott Wray.
“I’ve know Vladimir for several years now, and coached against him for many seasons while I was in Amarillo,” stated Ferras. “He’s is without a doubt a top d-man at the ‘AA’ level because he can log a ton of ice time and is a go-to guy. He is surely going to be one of the backbones of our defensive corps, playing in all situations and particularly vital on special teams.”
The Sterberk, Czech Republic native joins the Rush after playing a pair of seasons in Vipiteno, Italy. In 76 games overseas, the veteran collected 24 goals and 72 assists for 96 points to go along with 190 penalty minutes.
“We fell in love with Rapid City the first time we came to visit a couple of months ago,” said Hartinger. “We had a chance to meet a number of great people here in the Black Hills and everyone was so nice and welcoming. I’ve known Joe for as long as I’ve played in this league and I’ve heard only good things and I’m excited to play him. With all of the new acquisitions along with returning players, I feel we have a good chance to defend the championship for our fans.”
Prior to joining the Italian league, Hartinger played seven season in the CHL for the Wichita Thunder, Fort Worth Brahmas and New Mexico Scorpions. Having played in 394 regular season CHL games, Hartinger will fill one of the veteran spots on the Rush roster. Hartinger has totaled 226 points and 724 penalty minutes while playing in the CHL.
His best statistical season came in 2007-08 with the Scorpions, his last CHL campaign. In 63 games that season, Hartinger posted career highs in goals (20), assists (43), points (63) and penalty minutes (116). In that same season, Hartinger was named the recipient of the 2007-08 CHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman award. The 6-0, 200-pound defenseman was also a member of the 2008 CHL Southern Conference All-Star team.