Rush Ink Three More for 2011-12
(Rapid City, SD) – Today, the Rapid City Rush announced three more signings for the 2011-12 Central Hockey League season. Returning for his second stint in a Rush uniform is winger Jesse Schultz while the squad has officially signed forward Mike Vaskivuo and welcomes in newcomer Anthony Perdicaro.
Schultz spent the majority of his career in the American Hockey League (AHL) and also played a pair of games for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. When he joined the Rush in early March of last season, Schultz became the first player in Rush history to have NHL experience under his belt. Last season, Schultz posted one goal and 13 assists in 20 games played.
“With the experience that Jesse has in the pro game, to have him come back is huge,” said Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras. “With the upside that Jesse brings, now that he has a feel for the league, we expect him to not only be a top player for us, but a top player in the league. He has tremendous hockey sense, sees plays developing at a different level and we know he’ll be a player we depend on a lot. Being an undrafted player that has excelled at the higher levels, we are looking for Jesse to bring that experience to the younger players on our club and demonstrate the professionalism and work ethic that it takes to get there.”
Schultz, a 6’0” 192-pound veteran, boasts an impressive resume, having collected nearly 300 points at the AHL level. The 28-year old joined the Rush after beginning the 2010-11 season in Italy with Cortina SG where he amassed 49 points (16g, 33a) in 33 games.
“I wanted to be a part of a team where winning is a top priority,” said Schultz. “With the passion and support of the city and fans there is no better place to play in the CHL. With the returning players and the new players the organization has brought in, I'm really excited to get the season started.”
From 2003-09, the Strasbourg, Saskatchewan native appeared in 441 AHL games for the Manitoba Moose, Chicago Wolves and Houston Aeros, totaling 284 points (129g, 155a). In 2005-06, while with the Moose, Schultz led the team with 37 goals and 67 points in 80 regular season games. In 2006-07, Schultz was called up from Manitoba and appeared in two games for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Rush have also officially signed forward Mike Vaskivuo who was acquired in July via trade from the Evansville IceMen in exchange for Josh Beaulieu.
“After acquiring Vaskivuo in a trade for Beaulieu, it was great to get him under contract for this season,” stated Ferras. “We are very excited to be able to bring in Mike, a player that we know very well after last season’s opening round against the Dayton Gems. He is extremely versatile and possesses a tremendous skill set. Mike was one of Dayton’s top players that we keyed on during the playoffs. After a pair of twenty-five goal seasons and with his potential, we look for Mike to bring that same offensive threat to our club. Whenever you can add a 25 goal guy, it makes it harder for other teams to focus on who to shut down, and it instantly give us another offensive threat.”
The swift-skating 6-1, 185-pound winger produced a team-best 60 points in 65 games in the 2010-11 season, also leading the Dayton Gems in goals (26) and assists (34). Attaining status as one of the pre-eminent penalty-killing artisans of the CHL, the left-hand shooting forward poured in five shorthanded goals, good enough for second most in the league. In Dayton’s brief appearance in the 2011 post-season playoffs, he once again paced his team in point-productivity with five points in three games against the Rush.
“I'm ecstatic to be a part of the Rush,” stated Vaskivuo. “I can't wait to get started in a few weeks. The fans in Rapid are crazy about the Rush and the town really embraces their team. I've been training hard all summer so I can build on last year where I left off and help the Rush make a run at another championship!”
In his rookie season of 2009-10, the native of Helsinki, Finland also led the Gems in scoring while finishing fourth overall in IHL rookie point production, engineering 49 points in 75 games (25G, 24A) and led all rookies with 6 game-winning goals. Overall, Vaskivuo saw his 25 goals rank third best in the league.
The third player brought in is Anthony Perdicaro who spent last season in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).
“Anthony is a young player with a lot of upside,” continued Ferras. “After playing extremely well in the SPHL, I feel that a focused Anthony Perdicaro can be an effective player at the ‘AA’ level. Anthony is a player that stands up for his teammates and brings a lot of grit, but can also make a contribution on the offensive end. Anthony’s key to success at this level will be centered around him playing simple, north-south, hard-nosed hockey.”
Perdicaro is a native of East Rockaway, New York and posted 35 points (22g, 13a) and 117 penalty minutes in 37 games for the Fayetteville FireAntz in 2010-11. He began his pro career in 2009-10, splitting time between the IHL’s Port Huron Icehawks and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. Prior to turning pro, Perdicaro skated for the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the BCHL, finishing with 40 points and 139 penalty minutes in 50 games played.
Before joining the Rush, both Vaskivuo and Perdicaro will be attending training camp with the Worchester Sharks of the AHL.
“From day one, it’s always been important for the Rush organization to get our players to the AHL level or higher leagues in Europe,” noted Ferras. “This is evident with several players from last year’s team getting contracts overseas and call ups as well as numerous players attending AHL camps. With that, both Vaskivuo and Perdicaro will be attending camp with the Worchester Sharks, the primary affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.”