The Rapid City Rush announced Monday the signings of defenseman Quinn Wichers and forward Calder Brooks, who will spend their rookie seasons in the Black Hills.
Wichers arrives in the Black Hills for his first taste of pro hockey after a college career at Mercyhurst University. He played in 118 games over four years at Mercyhurst and recorded one goal, eight assists, and served as a team captain for his junior and senior seasons.
“Even though Quinn is young, he has been a captain the last two seasons at Mercyhurst and will bring good leadership to our room,” said Rush head coach Scott Burt. “A big D-Man that plays tough in front of the net, he will be asked to play with some snarl and be a force on our PK.”
Said Wichers, "I can’t wait to get to Rapid City, meet the team and fans, and hopefully make a big push for the Kelly Cup this season.”
The 6-foot-4 Wichers blocked 183 shots over his four sesons at Mercyhurst, including a team-leading 40 in 17 games during the abbreviated 2020-21 season. He was honored with the Bill Smith award after his senior season, an award given each year to the senior who most embodies Mercyhurst hockey.
“His coaches rave about his attention to detail and wanting to learn daily, which is a perfect fit with our group,” said Burt. “We are excited to have Quinn and will look to develop him to play at a higher level and be the best player he can.”
Brooks enters what will technically be his rookie ECHL season, despite having previous professional experience. That experience began with a three-game AHL stint with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2015 following the conclusion of his major junior career in the Western Hockey League. He then went on to play in the collegiate ranks in Canada from 2015-19 before making his ECHL debut with the Wichita Thunder in 2019, netting three goals and one assist in three games.
“Calder is a hard-nosed, two-way player that isn’t afraid to get dirty,” said Burt. “He will be looked upon to play in all situations. Calder is ready to take the next step and is looking for a bigger role than he has had before in pro hockey.”
Brooks played the 2019-20 season for three teams across two leagues in Germany and France. In the 2020-21 season, he joined the Jacksonville Icemen in January and appeared in 11 games, dishing out two assists.
“I’m very excited to get down to Rapid City,” said Brooks. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organization and am just really looking forward to being able to play a full year of hockey and to help this team win.”
In 2014-15, during his final season of junior hockey, Brooks put up 22 goals and 34 assists over 50 games for the Spokane Chiefs, a team for which Burt was the assistant coach.