This week, former Reading Royals’ forward, spending this past season in Slovakia, announced his retirement from professional hockey.
Former Royals’ forward and fan favorite Michael Huntebrinker, announced his retirement from professional hockey this week. Huntebrinker spent this past season in Slovakia playing for HKM Zvolen. He appeared in 50 games with the Slovakian team scoring a total of 13 goals and acquiring 37 assists. Before Huntebrinker took his hockey career overseas, he spent a few seasons in Reading, quickly becoming a favorite amongst Royals’ fans.
Huntebrinker came to the Royals in the 2016-17 season right out of Minnesota State University. He came in late that season, appearing in only eight games and picking up three assists. It wasn’t until the following season that Huntebrinker indeed showed his talent to the city of Reading. He was the fifth top forward that season, playing in a total of 65 games with the team. He scored 20 goals and acquired 21 assists, but that wasn’t all that made him a favorite among fans. His down-to-earth personality and all-around appreciation of his fans’ support made him a long-time favorite on and off the ice.
In the 2018-19 season, he started in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms but returned to Reading, where he played in 36 games with the team, coming in as the fourth forward that season. He scored 18 goals and received 26 assists for the year, his dedication to improvement in the offseason paying off significantly. When the season was over, though the outcome wasn’t exactly how fans may have wanted, Huntebrinker continued showing appreciation to those who supported him all season long.
Unfortunately, Huntebrinker did not return to Reading the following season, though fans hoped he would bring his admired skills, speed, and stick work back for another try at the cup. He spent the next two seasons with the Florida Everblades, playing in a total of 106 games with the Blades, totaling 44 goals and 46 assists. The Everblades were the last team Huntebrinker would play for in the States before continuing his career overseas. Now, after all his years of dedication to the sport, it is time for a legend to extinguish the flame and move on to his next chapter. We wish Huntebrinker, or Hunty as he is best known here in Reading, the best of luck in this new chapter and wish him the best for his future.