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Rapid City Rush

Thursday, November 12th
Rapid City Rush

On June 2, 2007, Rapid City, South Dakota was awarded an expansion franchise in the Central Hockey League. In September of 2007, the team’s colors and name were announced, and thus, the Rapid City Rush was born.

The team began to play in the 2008-09 season. The first home game in team history was on November 29, 2008, a 4-0 win over the arch-rival Colorado Eagles. In the 64-game regular season, the Rush posted a 22-33-2-7 record in its first campaign.

The 2009-10 season saw the Rush accomplish their most successful season to-date. With the acquisition of key free agents Colt King, Scott Wray, and rookie goaltender Danny Battochio, while keeping most of the inaugural team’s core, the Rush almost doubled their win total from their inaugural season. The team went 43-14-1-6 with 93 standings points, finishing first in the Northern Conference and clinching their first of six consecutive playoff appearances across two leagues. The 43 wins, 93 points, and 14 losses still remain team records to this day. In the postseason, the Rush had a first-round bye, swept the Missouri Mavericks in the second round, and defeated the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in seven games in the Northern Conference Final to advance to the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Final. In the Final, they played the Allen Americans, who remain fierce rivals of the Rush still to this day in the ECHL. In Game 6 of the Final on May 5, 2010, Scott Wray scored the championship-winning goal with 39.3 seconds left in double-overtime to crown the Rush 2010 CHL champions.

The Rush enjoyed four more seasons in the CHL until October 7, 2014, when the ECHL absorbed the remaining CHL teams as new members to the League. In their first ECHL campaign in 2014-15, the Rush used a second-half 23-8-5 run to clinch their sixth consecutive playoff berth in their seven-year existence, as well as home-ice advantage in the first round. They defeated the Quad City Mallards in the Central Division Semifinals, securing the series win in exhilarating fashion in the final 63 seconds of Game 7. The Rush advanced to the Central Division Finals and fell to the eventual Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans in six games.

The Rush have been affiliated with an NHL franchise three times: once with the Minnesota Wild (2017-18), and twice with the Arizona Coyotes, the latter of which they are currently affiliated with (2015-2017, 2019-Present). Since joining the ECHL and becoming an NHL affiliated team, the Rush have produced five players that have advanced to the NHL: goaltenders Marek Langhamer, Adin Hill and Ivan Prosvetov; forward Michael Bunting and defenseman Dakota Mermis.

The Rush organization has immortalized a player’s number on two different occasions. On April 4, 2015, the #17 of Scott Wray, 2010 CHL champion and the longest-tenured captain in team history, was lifted to the rafters of Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena. Three years later, on March 30, 2018, Danny Battochio, the winningest goaltender in team history that captured 2010 CHL Rookie of the Year honors and the 2010 CHL championship, saw his #30 raised next to Wray.

On January 11, 2019, the Rush announced a change in ownership, with Jeff Dickerson, T.J. Puchyr, and Tom Long of Spire Sports + Entertainment purchasing the team.

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