ALLEN, Texas – Today, we catch up with another player from the past in our weekly “Where Are They Now” series and that player is goalie Joel Rumpel.
Rumpel spent two seasons with the Allen Americans and collected two championship rings in the process. The native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan was part of the 2015 and 2016 Kelly Cup championship teams.
Joel was assigned to Allen after he signed an NHL deal with the San Jose Sharks after he completed an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin. During his time at Wisconsin (2011-15) Joel had a career save percentage of .918 and guided the Badgers to two NCAA tournament appearances and a Big Ten Tournament championship. In 2014 Joel was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (hockey’s Heisman) and the Mike Richter Award, presented to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate goaltender.
Joel arrived in Allen at the end of March in 2015 just a week after signing with the Sharks. He was called on right away as Riley Gill went down with an injury. Rumpel started four straight games at the end of the season with a record of 3-0-0-1 and a GAA of 1.68. During the first two rounds of the 2015 Kelly Cup playoffs, Rumpel and Gill shared the goalie duties, but when it got to the final two rounds, all the starts went to Riley Gill, the best playoff goalie in the history of the ECHL.
Joel Rumpel was called on heavily early in the 2015-16 season, starting 12 of the first 13 games and winning nine of the 12. By seasons end, Joel had more games played (39) than Gill (29). Rumpel ended the season with a record of 21-11-2-2.
When the 2016 playoffs rolled around, it was once again the Riley Gill show but Joel got a key win after taking over for Gill in a conference final game against Fort Wayne. Gill was hit by the puck in an unprotected area and had to leave the game. Rumpel played the final 35:58 and allowed just one goal. The game went to overtime and Allen won after just 56 seconds on a Gary Steffes goal. Rumpel’s stats for the night were 15 saves on 16 shots for a goals against average of 1.63 and a save percentage of .938. Allen went on to win their second Kelly Cup in 2016. Three goalies shared the workload between the regular season and playoffs. Riley Gill had 48 games, Joel Rumpel 42 games and Jake Hildebrand had 14 games.
His career also saw stops in Cincinnati, Wichita, and Utah, but he was not nearly as successful in those stops as he was in Allen.
This offseason, Joel made a big move, deciding to play in Scotland for the Glasgow Clan in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). The EIHL is comprised of 11 teams from all four countries in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales).
Here is Joel Rumpel in his own words:
TSB: Can you tell us about playing in Scotland?
RUMPEL: This is my first year overseas and I really enjoy it so far. It is great to be able to travel with my fiancé (Alex) and see Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. The season is going well and we are in a good spot to make the playoffs but it is still early in the season.
TSB: Can you share something about your experience playing in Allen? Why is Allen considered one of the best places to play?
RUMPEL: Allen was a special place. Great fans and an amazing city to play in. I think when you win a couple of championships somewhere that place will always be with you, the great coaching, great teams, and great fans. I still stay in touch with a lot of people from my time in Allen and I think that is what made it so special.
TSB: What is your highlight, fondest memory of your time playing in Allen?
RUMPEL: Both championships are great memories but the friends you make along the way have to be the best part.
TSB: Who was your favorite/closest teammate in Allen? Any stories you can share?
RUMPEL: Dyson Stevenson I am still closest with from that team but I stay in touch with a lot of the guys. J.P. LaFontaine, Matt Register, and Kyle Follmer are living in Minnesota so I get to see them since we spend part of the summer there. Same with Riley Gill when he comes up north. Jake Hildebrand and I work hockey camps together in the summer so it is great staying in touch with him. Rick Pinkston is playing over here (Fife Flyers) and is only an hour away so we meet up for dinner, it is nice to have an old friend nearby. Jamie Schaafsma, Kevin Young, David Makowski, and Chris Crane I don’t get to see much but texts and Snapchat help stay in touch.