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Defenseman Matt Stief Adds to 2021-22 Steelheads Blue Line

Friday, September 24th
Defenseman Matt Stief Adds to 2021-22 Steelheads Blue Line

BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads have signed defenseman Matt Steif to an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2021-22 season, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Friday. Stief is the first Florida native to play for the Steelheads in the organization’s history.

“I know the opportunity [in Boise] is going to be great,” said Stief. “Sheener and [Assistant Coach] Keenan Kelly have been very supportive and excited to have the team that we’re bringing in this year. I’m just hoping to help bring success to the team.”Stief, 25, began his professional career with the Macon Mayhem of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) during the 2020-21 season, posting one goal and six assists for seven points with 12 penalty minutes through 34 games. The Boca Raton, Fla. native was slated to join the Steelheads last season prior to opting-out as well as join the team in Rapid City before the 2019-20 season was suspended. He played with two other Steelheads defensemen in SPHL Macon: Darren Brady, who he also grew up playing with, and Casey Johnson.The 5-foot-9 defenseman has found success as an offensive defenseman despite his size, reaching milestone markers at his alma mater and showcasing a nose for the attacking side of the blue line. In his first professional season, he took the opportunity to build on the rest of his game, allowing for more decision-making in the defensive side and building up strength to play toward a bigger stature as his professional career continues.“I learned how to play sounder defensively. In my last year at college, I put up a good amount of points and was hoping to do that again, but at the same time it was nice to round out my game and understand that me not being the biggest defenseman isn’t the end of the world. I had to focus on my stick position, skating and body positioning.“At the end of the day, I was still able to play 34 games and learn and develop as a professional hockey player, understand how the day-to-day goes playing that many games, how to treat myself and my body, and learn better habits that fit the professional game compared to college. It was a great season to learn off of."“Matt brings a high IQ to the back end,” said Sheen. “He has the ability to break pucks out clean and join the rush. He defends well and makes the easy pass. We are looking for him to build off his rookie season last year in Macon and take an even bigger step this year.”Prior to his professional career, Stief played four seasons at Canisius College from 2016-17 through 2019-20, tallying 60 points (5-55—60) in 133 games and owns the second-most assists by a Canisius defenseman in their Division I history. He served as an assistant captain during the 2019-20 campaign and earned All-Atlantic Hockey Third Team honors while finishing fifth in the nation in power play assists (17) and third on the team in points (3-23—26). He was part of the first Atlantic Hockey Regular Season Championship in program history during the 2016-17 season.“I was lucky to be [in Boise] for four days before COVID happened,” said Stief. “I saw the city for a hot second, and it was gorgeous. The rink is awesome, and the support is bar none from the other organizations. It’ll be exciting to play in front of the fans finally.”Stief is the 15th Steelheads player and fourth defenseman announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining Darren Brady, Casey Johnson, and Evan Wardley as well as forwards Zack Andrusiak, Luc Brown, Colby McAuley, Shawn McBride, Will Merchant, David Norris, Jake Pappalardo, and A.J. White and goaltenders Matt Jurusik and Jake Kupsky. 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 25th Anniversary Reunion Game kicks off the 2021-22 season on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Idaho Central Arena! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Sep. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22. Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for the return of hockey to Downtown Boise! Make sure to secure your FloSports subscription for the 2021-22 season to lock in all Steelheads games and more on ECHL TV.

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