BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads have signed goaltender Matt Jurusik to an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2021-22 season, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Monday.“I got to know Tomas Sholl pretty well when I was in Texas last year,” said Jurusik. “He had nothing but great things to say about the organization, the city, and the support that we get. I’m excited to get out there.”Jurusik, 24, began his professional career with the South Carolina Stingrays during the 2020-21 season, posting a 2-5-1 record with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage through eight games. The La Grange, Ill. native made his ECHL debut on Apr. 9, 2021 against the Wheeling Nailers, stopping 40 of 42 shots and earning his first professional win. He also spent time with the Texas Stars (AHL) last season, signing a Professional Try-Out (PTO) contract to begin with Texas Stars Training Camp in January and working with goaltenders Colton Point and Tomas Sholl.The 6-foot-2 goaltender spent time with goaltenders past and present last season that brings familiarity to the program. In addition to working with Point and Sholl in Texas, goaltender Jake Kupsky also spent time in South Carolina last season and has been a consistent off-season training partner with Jurusik. That not only helps with knowing teammates prior to arrival but also a strong working relationship that can benefit as the two share time in net. Both experiences have helped Jurusik grow toward his first full season.
“Kupsky and I know each other really well. We’ve been training together for the last couple summers in Wisconsin, so we have a really good relationship. I’m looking forward to competing with him day-in and day-out.
“I didn’t get any playing time [in Texas], but it taught me some valuable lessons. Just getting to see what that level is all about on a day-to-day basis—practicing with players, watching a lot of games, seeing what that league has to offer—is really good. I got a good look at what the level that I’m trying to get to looks like.”“We were fortunate enough to have him signed last season and watch him grow in Texas for most of the year,” said Sheen on Jurusik. “He went to South Carolina for a stretch at the end of last season and proved himself to be a very good goaltender at this level. I am very confident in the tandem that we have signed for this season, and Matty is a big piece to the puzzle.”Prior to his professional career, Jurusik played two seasons at Michigan Tech University beginning in 2018-19. During his senior season, he was named All-WCHA Third Team honors following a career-best 19-10-3 record with a 2.06 GAA and a .924 save pct. with two shutouts in 34 games for the 2019-20 campaign. He split his collegiate career in 2017-18 with one season with the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL), owning a 21-22-4 record with a 2.89 GAA and .906 save pct., following two seasons and 50 games at the University of Wisconsin. Jurusik earned a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2015 Hlinka Gretzky Cup during his first junior season with the Janesville Jets (NAHL), where he led the NAHL in GAA (1.57) and save pct. (.929) en route to NAHL All-Rookie First Team honors.“You just have to become the best person and player you can every day,” said Jurusik, thinking on last season. “When unexpected things like the pandemic happen, the player pool and team pool shrinks. If you haven’t set yourself up by playing well the previous season, then all of a sudden you’re not going to get games or have a team to play for. You just have to go out there and show it when you have the opportunity to play in a game.”Jurusik is the eighth Steelheads player and second goaltender announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining Kupsky, forwards Zack Andrusiak, Will Merchant and A.J. White, and defensemen Casey Johnson and Evan Wardley. Future announcements and signings will be announced throughout the summer, and you can follow who’s been added on the team’s Summer Signing Tracker.The Steelheads are back for the 2021-22 season! Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22 against the Utah Grizzlies at Idaho Central Arena. Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for the return of hockey to Downtown Boise! Stay connected to the Steelheads all summer long on IdahoSteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.