The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes and AHL’s Springfield Falcons, announce former Kelly Cup Champion forward, Jimmy Bonneau, has signed with the Rush for the upcoming 2015-16 ECHL season. Bonneau becomes the fifth forward announced and the first veteran to join the Rush roster this offseason.
Bonneau spent last season in the American Hockey League with the Worcester Sharks (now San Jose Barracuda), marking his fourth year with the organization. The 6’3”, 220-pound winger recorded 3 assists in 30 games played, and also racked up 80 PIM. In his four seasons in Massachusetts, Bonneau played in 153 games, making up just under half of his time at the AHL level.
“When I looked at coming back to the ECHL, I researched the Rush organization and heard nothing but great things about the caliber of hockey played and the fan base surrounding the team. I was very excited to sign my contract,” Bonneau spoke of his decision to join the Rush. When asked about his contributions to the team, Bonneau added: “Toughness made me a pro, so toughness is what I’ll bring. My role on the ice is changing in this game, so not only can I protect my teammates, but I can also play the game and provide leadership both on and off the ice and in our locker room in such a youth-centric league to bring the team together to win.”
“Whenever you can add a player that brings the character, leadership, and toughness that Jimmy brings, it makes your team that much better,” said Rush Head Coach and GM, Joe Ferras. “Jimmy brings an abundance of experience, which will be vital in our locker room with our youth and contracted players. It will be great for them to learn from a player like Jimmy about the commitment to the game, work ethic, and intangibles that it takes to become a full-time player at the next level.”
A native of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Bonneau, 30, enters his 11th season of professional hockey, and just his 4th at the ECHL level. In his entire career, Bonneau has played in 477 games, recording 14 goals and 33 assists for 47 points, along with 1,275 PIM. He won his lone professional championship, the 2008 Kelly Cup, with the Cincinnati Cyclones, and finished as a Western Conference Finalist with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs. Prior to playing professionally, Bonneau played junior hockey in the QMJHL with the Montreal Rocket and the Prince Edward Island Rocket, and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2003 NHL Draft (8th Rd-#241).
Ferras concluded: “When you go into tough buildings to play the Colorado’s and the Fort Wayne’s, a player of Jimmy’s stature brings our team’s toughness up to another level. This will be very important for the compete-level and parity within the ECHL.”