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Former Rapid City Rush defenseman Jeremy Gates, shown as an assistant with the Pensacola Ice Flyers, has returned to the Rush as one of the team's assistant coaches.

Former Rush defenseman Jeremy Gates is returning to Rapid City as an assistant coach for the team, it was announced on Wednesday.

Gates returns after the conclusion of his first season of coaching at the professional level. He spent last season with the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers under the tutelage of former Rush defenseman Rod Aldoff, who recently completed his fifth season as Pensacola’s Head Coach.

With Aldoff, Gates helped the Ice Flyers to a 26-24-6 record, and the team’s 10th consecutive berth into the SPHL President’s Cup Playoffs. The Ice Flyers fell in the first round to the eventual champion Huntsville Havoc, going the distance in the best-of-3 playoff series.

“I want to thank the Pensacola Ice Flyers for treating me with the utmost class and respect from my time as a player to my time as a coach. With that being said, it feels unbelievable to be back in Rapid City. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Rush organization, and look forward to getting to work right away,” Gates said.  “I look forward to working with the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners in helping players develop personally and professionally on their journey to the NHL.

“I’m excited to use video coaching, skill work, and my overall high energy and positive attitude to help educate Rush players,” Gates concluded. “I love this community. It is a true hockey town and the fans are unwavering in their support of the team. Pair that with the offseason momentum of the Rush organization, and this has become a place where great things can and will happen.”

 Rush head coach Daniel Tetrault said they went through an extensive process to find the bet fit for the organization. Gates was a clear fit, he said.

"I can’t stress enough how excited I am to have him as my assistant coach,” Tetrault said. “He earned great experience last year under Rod Aldoff in Pensacola, and is ready for this next step in his career.

“Jeremy brings passion and excitement to the game of hockey, and was a winner everywhere he played,. One of the x-factors of Jeremy as a coach is that he’s well-spoken, and because of that, can clearly teach the game to young professionals. Jeremy loves Rapid City, and he desperately wants to win for this community and the fans that he played in front of years ago.”

As a member of the Rush, he played 18 games in an injury-shortened 2014-15 ECHL season, and registered nine points (one goal, eight assists), then added another assist in a pair of playoff games. In total, he appeared in 187 games with the Ice Flyers (SPHL), Bloomington Blaze (CHL), Fort Wayne Komets, Cincinnati Cyclones, and the Rush, earning 18 goals, 67 assists, and 85 points, along with 221 PIM.

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