Lowe, Rollheiser Re-Sign; Rookie Baptista Added to the Mix
Wichita, KS (August 22nd) - The Wichita Thunder, proud member of the ECHL and powered by Toyota, announced on Saturday at their annual Season Ticket Holder Open House that the team has come to terms with forwards Ian Lowe and Mason Baptista and goaltender Grant Rollheiser for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
“Ian is one of the hardest working players that I have coached,” commented Head Coach Kevin McClelland. “He had a great season last year and I know he wants to help this team get back into the playoffs. Rollheiser came back to Wichita at the beginning of March and was our workhorse down the stretch. He put up some good numbers and gave us a chance last season. I like what I saw from Mason in his limited action in Quad City. He will be a good addition to our forward group.”
Lowe, 28, returns for his fourth year in the Air Capital and his fifth as a pro. A native of Bradwardine, Manitoba, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound winger assumed the captain duties in early January. He had his second-best statistical season of his career last season, notching 58 points (20g, 38a) and was tied for fifth in the ECHL for power play goals (11). Prior to turning pro, Lowe spent a four-year career at Bemidji State University where he ranks 11th on the school's all-time Division I scoring list.
Baptista, 25, got a taste of pro hockey last season when he signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Quad City Mallards. A native of North York, Ontario, the 6-foot, 198-pound forward attended St. Norbert College (NCAA DIII) before playing in four games with the Mallards. Last season, he led the Green Knights in points (34), assists (26) and was named a 2nd Team All American and All-Conference Player. During his four-year career at St. Norbert, he collected two National Championships to go along with 104 points (29g, 75a) in 117 games.
Rollheiser, 26, returns to Wichita for his third stint after being acquired in a trade last March from the Brampton Beast. A native of Chilliwack, BC, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound netminder appeared in 13 of the last 18 games, posting a solid 2.63 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Entering his fourth professional season, Rollheiser was drafted in the sixth round (#158 overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. From there, he attended Boston University for four seasons from 2008-12 and won a National Championship in 2008-09.
The Thunder will enter their 24th season in the Air Capital and second year as a member of the ECHL. Wichita opens the 2015-16 campaign on Friday, October 16th at Tulsa and will play its home opener on Saturday, October 17th against the Quad City Mallards.
Wichita will host the Tulsa Oilers for their lone exhibition game on Saturday, October 10th at 4 p.m. at the Wichita Ice Center. Tickets are just $12 and are on sale now. Price of admission gets you both the Wichita Thunder game as well as the Junior Thunder vs. Colorado Junior Eagles, which will start immediately after the Thunder game. These tickets are only available at the Wichita Thunder office.
Season tickets are on sale now. Don't delay! Call the Wichita Thunder office and visit with a season ticket rep today to learn more. Stay up-to-date on all the news during the off-season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.
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About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 28th season in 2015-16. There have been 569 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 28 who made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 29 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com.