Rivermen Sign Fan-Favorite Gurtler Out of Retirement

July 19, 2017 - 02:00 pm

(Photo Credit: Nathan Kerley/Peoria Rivermen)

Rivermen Sign Fan-Favorite Gurtler Out of Retirement

Rookie defensemen Kirisits, LeBrun, also join Peoria’s training camp roster


Peoria, IL – The Peoria Rivermen announced Wednesday that the team has signed winger Mike Gurtler to a professional tryout agreement for this October’s training camp, ending the 30-year-old’s one-year retirement from pro hockey. Additionally, the Rivermen have added rookie defensemen Kevin Kirisits and Kyle LeBrun to the team’s training camp roster. Kirisits played in three games for the Rivermen last March after concluding his collegiate career at Utica College, while LeBrun wrapped up a four-year college career last season at Wentworth Institute of Technology.


Gurtler, a native of Rochester, NY, last played professionally for the Rivermen in 2015-16, seeing action in 32 games, tallying 12 goals and 11 assists to go with a +10 rating despite missing time with injuries from late November through late February. As a pro, the six-foot-two winger has posted 59 goals and 78 assists across three different leagues, skating in 212 total professional games. With his game total, Gurtler will not qualify as a veteran category player for the 2017-18 SPHL season.


“We’re pumped to have Gurts back in camp with us this fall,” said Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel. “He’s a veteran guy who’s been around the sport, and knows how we like to do things here in Peoria. It’ll be awesome to have him on and off the ice setting an example for our younger guys, and he’s excited to get back on the ice.”


In addition to Gurtler, the Rivermen announced Wednesday that they have inked defenseman Kevin Kirisits to a pro tryout deal. Kirisits, 25, skated in three games last March for the Rivermen after completing his senior season at Utica College, where he served as team captain for his final two seasons. In his four-year stint with the Pioneers, Kirisits skated in 108 games, notching eight goals and 22 assists in the ECAC-West, and led the team with 27 blocked shots as a junior in 2015-16.


LeBrun, meanwhile, comes to the Rivermen training camp ledger after he wrapped up a three-year stint at Wentworth Institute of Technology which saw him play in 68 career games, score 10 goals and assist on four others. In his junior hockey career, the six-foot 200-pound native of Bridgewater, MA played in 128 games for the South Shore Kings of the Tier-III EJHL, notching 56 points from the blueline while amassing 192 penalty minutes.


Season and group tickets for Peoria’s 2017-18 home games are available now by calling the Rivermen office at (309)-676-1040. The Rivermen open the 2017-18 regular season at Evansville October 21, and commence the home portion of their schedule October 27 & 28 at Carver Arena against the expansion Birmingham Bulls.


Full season tickets for Peoria's 36th season of professional hockey presented by Midwest Orthopaedic Center are on sale at the Rivermen office in the Peoria Civic Center, located at 201 S.W. Jefferson Street, or over the phone at (309) 676-1040. For the latest Rivermen news and notes, follow online at www.rivermen.net or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/PeoriaRivermen) - Twitter(https://twitter.com/Peoria_Rivermen)