The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, announced today that veteran forward and 2014 Calder Cup Champion Mike Hedden has signed with the Rush for the upcoming 2020-21 ECHL season. The veteran’s signing marks the fifth Black Hills Chiropractic Roster Adjustment of the 2020 offseason.
Additionally, Hedden will serve as the team’s Player-Assistant Coach. He joins goaltenders Adam Carlson and Gordon Defiel, and Blaine Jarvis “Heart and Soul Award” Winners Tyler Coulter and Cedric Montminy as players signed for the 2020-21 season.
Hedden joins the Rush following a 2019-20 campaign in which he played for the Allen Americans and Jacksonville Icemen. The 5’10”, 185-pound forward notched a goal in 4 games with the Americans before finishing the season with the Icemen, where he earned nearly a point-per-game average with 42 points (16g-26ast) in 44 games, along with a +3 rating.
“Having some familiarity with Assistant Coach Jeremy Gates, and playing with former Rush players from the past few seasons, the buzz and excitement was there to join the team,” Hedden said of his signing with the Rush. “The team has a great fan base, phenomenal organizational leadership, and the ownership group has this team pulling in the right direction. It’s also exciting for me because not only are we flying for every road trip this season, but I’ve never been out west before. I get to see new places, new teams, and take in locations I’ve never been to before.
“Being a Player-Assistant will hopefully set the table for the next step in my career, while also taking on an active leadership role on the team. That’s mainly what I hope to bring to this team,” Hedden concluded. “I don’t take nights off. I try to make the guys that I play with better. I bring energy. Getting towards the end of my career, my focus is helping the younger players develop and reach their full potential. My goals aren’t nearly as personal as they used to be, but winning as a team is always on my mind. I look forward to accomplishing that with a new group of guys in Rapid City.”
Rush Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Daniel Tetrault remarked on Hedden’s signing: “If there’s one thing we lacked last season, it was a veteran-status player. Mike checks that box for us, as well as the leadership, intellect, and skill he will bring to our locker room. Mike is well-traveled and a proven winner at higher levels of hockey. As a Player-Assistant, I’m going to rely on Mike to learn as much as he leads, and help develop our young talent into quality players. I can’t wait to get started with Mike for next season.”
A native of Dunnville, Ontario, Hedden is set to begin his 12th season of professional hockey in 2020-21. Hedden has played all over the world in his career in the ECHL and AHL in North America, the KHL in Croatia, Liiga in Finland, the DEL in Germany, and the EIHL in Wales. The majority of his professional experience comes from the AHL, where he tabulated 56 goals, 71 assists, and 127 points in 210 games, along with a +28 rating with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Rockford IceHogs, Rochester Americans, and Texas Stars. As a member of the Stars in the 2013-14 season, Hedden won the 2014 Calder Cup Championship, finishing the title run tied for second in playoff scoring (19 points in 21 games), and tied for first as the playoffs goal-scoring leader with 9 tallies. Overall in his professional career, Hedden has 199 goals, 245 assists, and 444 points in 646 games. Prior to playing professionally, Hedden was a teammate of Assistant Coach Jeremy Gates at NCAA-III Neumann University, earning 163 points (97g-67ast) in 108 games, and winning the 2009 NCAA-III National Championship.