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Forward Colton Kehler Returns to U.S. with Steelheads in 2021-22

Wednesday, September 29th
Forward Colton Kehler Returns to U.S. with Steelheads in 2021-22

BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads have signed forward Colton Kehler to an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2021-22 season and is the 10th forward announced for this year’s roster, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Wednesday.“Coming back to North America has been something I’ve thought about since I left the Western [Hockey] League,” said Kehler. “With COVID, there weren’t a lot of jobs over here so I spent a year in Europe. North America is where I want to be, and to have a spot over here is super exciting.”Kehler, 24, began his professional career in Germany during the 2020-21 season with the Herne EV 2007 Miners in the Oberliga, tallying 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points with 53 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating through 35 games. The Port Coquitlam, B.C. native made his professional debut on Oct. 9, 2020 and finished seventh on the team in scoring. Kehler played two seasons of collegiate hockey with the University of British Columbia (USports) between 2018-19 and 2019-20, posting 15 points (8-7—15) through 42 games following his Major Junior Career.The 5-foot-9 forward is not a prototypical player when it comes to size in the modern game, and over his young career he has had to work through some of those challenges, especially when playing against larger opponents. One of the keys to his offensive game is playing bigger than his stature suggests, and Steelheads alums like Cal Ingraham have thrived despite being smaller than other players.“Having a guy being smaller that likes to play physical and a bit of an agitating game is important. I think, being a smaller guy, that I can’t shy away from that and I’ll be a target. Being able to show that I am able to fit in physically is my biggest attribute. I don’t shy away from the physicality or the extracurricular stuff.“Coming out of school, I was a guy who would get pucks in and get pucks out. My biggest adjustment was understanding that I had an extra second or so with the puck and trying to make a play was important instead of giving up possession. It brings back some offensive confidence, and just having that will help me a lot.”“Colton is returning to North American hockey after a season in German and brings a good mix of high-end skill and grit,” said Sheen on Kehler. “He has the ability to make game-changing plays while also being a thorn in the side of the opponent. His style of game suits our identity here in Idaho.”Prior to his professional career, Kehler played three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL), totaling 108 points (67-41—108) in 200 games while serving as an assistant captain in his final two seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. His best year was his final campaign thanks to a 51-point (32-19—51) venture in 71 games, helping to lead the Oil Kings in goals and sit third in total scoring.“The fans are number one, especially coming out of a COVID year,” said Kehler on his decision to come to Boise. “The city itself I know is booming, and the winning history was something that was huge. That was a huge sell for me: coming to a team that knows how to win and to a city that treats its players well.”Kehler is the 16th Steelheads player and 10th forward announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining forwards Zack Andrusiak, Luc Brown, Colby McAuley, Shawn McBride, Will Merchant, David Norris, Jake Pappalardo, Zach Walker, and A.J. White as well as defensemen Darren Brady, Casey Johnson, and Evan Wardley 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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