The Rapid City Rush have announced that defenseman Zack Hoffman and forward Maurizio Colella will be joining the team for the 2023-24 ECHL season.
Zack Hoffman will be joining the Rush in his second ECHL season, having spent the 2022-23 ECHL season with the Wichita Thunder. Hoffman played in 52 games for the Thunder, where he put up six assists. He had 69 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -11. Before joining the Wichita Thunder to begin his ECHL career, He played one season in the CCHL with the Navan Grads putting up 11 goals and 33 points for 44 points in 62 games and would be named Defenceman of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Hoffman then spent two seasons at Saint Mary’s University in USports, putting up a goal and three assists in 32 games, and once his collegiate career was over, he spent the end of the 2021-22 season with the Fayetteville Marksmen putting up a goal and four assists for five points in 25 regular season games and added an assist in three playoff games.
Maurizio Colella joins the Rush after spending the 2022-23 season with the Meran/Merano of the Alps Hockey League and Italian Hockey League Serie A in Italy. In the Alps Hockey League, Colella played in 19 games, where he had ten goals and 12 assists for 22 points; he also added 12 penalty minutes. In the Italian Hockey League Serie A, Colella played in three games where he had two assists.
Colella does have previous ECHL experience, as he was in the ECHL in the 2017-18 and 2021-22 seasons. He spent his time playing for the Worcester Railers, South Carolina Stingrays, and Newfoundland Growlers. Colella has played in 16 games, putting up a goal and an assist; he added 15 penalty minutes. Colella and current Rapid City defencemen both played together at Acadia University.
My Thoughts on These Signings
I think these both could end up being good signings for the Rush. It looks like Colella has continued to grow and improve his game while overseas. This should really help the Rush with having less offensive droughts. Hoffman is still on the young side and is most likely still finding his game, but he should help the team have less games where they are extremely short on defensemen. Both players should positively affect the Rush in the 2023-24 season.