(Rapid City, SD) – Today, the Rapid City Rush are proud to announce the first two player signings of the 2011-12 season. Returning for their second season with the Rush are high-powered forwards Ryan Menei and Konrad Reeder who were 1st and 2nd in team scoring since Reeder’s arrival in early January. Menei was named a finalist for the 2010-11 CHL Most Valuable Player award.
“With the tremendous amount of success that we have had over the past three seasons, our players continue to be highly sought-after, which is a compliment to our program,” said Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras. “There are numerous opportunities in other leagues, including overseas, so losing players is a reality each off season. However, with Menei and Reeder committing to the Rush organization, this is a great start to the culture and the type of hockey team we want. Both players are incredible assets to the community, and will continue to lead this franchise both on and off the ice.”
Menei, 24, will suit up for his 5th professional season looking to match the career numbers that he had last year. During the 2010-11 campaign, Menei led the Rush in goals (39), assists (48), points (87), rating (+25), powerplay goals (11), powerplay points (25), game-winning goals (7) and shot percentage (.178). Among CHL leaders, he ranked 4th in goals, 8th in points and 6th in rating.
“Ryan was a player that we tried recruiting to Rapid City for the past three seasons and were fortunate do get him last year,” stated Ferras. “He certainly didn’t disappoint. To come one goal shy of 40 in a 66-game season and lead our team with 7 game-winning goals is an incredible accomplishment. Ryan is a player that we are counting to be a big leader in the locker room and off the ice this upcoming season and will also be a key ingredient to maintaining our success. Ryan gave the fans not only several highlight-reel goals, but the timing of the goals, evident by his 7 game-winners, was instrumental in us claiming the regular season Turner Conference Title.”
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has the distinction as the first Rush player to reach 40 goals in one season after totaling 42 last year (39 regular season, 3 playoff). He was also voted the third best overall player in the CHL's annual Best of the Best poll. Menei completed the 7th overall and 2nd playoff hat trick in Rush history in game #1 of the Turner Conference Finals, a 5-2 win over the Fort Wayne Komets. Finally, Menei posted a 13-game point streak through the month of January, the longest in Rush history.
The 5’11” 203-pound Menei began his pro career with the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL in 2007-08, and in his debut season he finished second in overall team rankings in points (56), goals (23), and assists (33) while skating in 71 games which earned him a spot on the American Conference All-Star Team. Menei then played 13 games in Italy before rejoining the Sea Wolves for the remainder of the 2008-09 season where he picked up 32 points in 52 games. In 2009-10, Menei split time between the Johnstown Chiefs and Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL where he compiled 18 goals and setting what was a career high with 53 points in 66 games played.
Also returning for his second season with the Rush is speedy winger Konrad Reeder who began last year in Germany. Reeder was acquired via trade from the Arizona Sundogs in early January, quickly becoming Rapid City’s most potent scorer, along with Menei.
“Whenever a team makes a trade, you hope it works out for the betterment of the team,” continued Ferras. “In our case with Konrad, it was a home-run and couldn’t have worked out any better with what we were looking for and needed. Konrad became an instant crowd favorite and brought that spark that is needed on every team. He’s a player that I can use in all situations and gives you the same effort night in and night out. Konrad is a perfect example of not measuring a man by his stature, rather by the size of his heart. For a man of his size, he plays a very big game, going into tough areas and willing to sacrifice for the greater success of the team.”
For the Rush last season, Reeder finished 5th in goals (16), points (42) and rating (+12) despite playing in exactly half of the regular season games (33). In late January, the forward collected a goal in six straight games, the longest goal scoring streak in Rush history and also boasted a 10-game point streak at the same time.
“Having Konrad as a part of our team from the start of training camp will be a huge boost for our locker room,” continued Ferras. “Konrad will be a player that others follow because he leads by example through his work ethic and leadership which is second to none.”
Reeder, a native of Vanderhoof, British Columbia, has appeared in 269 career CHL games and has amassed 131 goals and 183 assists for 314 total points. Reeder’s most productive season came in 2007-08 while a member of the New Mexico Scorpions. That year, he finished second in the CHL in scoring with 108 points (41g, 67a). His 41 goals ranked tied for third overall in the league, while his 67 assists were third-most in the CHL. Reeder also put up special teams numbers, ranking 5th overall with 14 power-play goals and finishing 3rd in the league with six shorthanded goals league.
As a rookie during the 2006-07 season, Reeder tallied 39 points (18g,21a) and finished tied for second in scoring in the CHL during the 2007 Playoffs with 28 points (11g,17a)