The Rapid City Rush announced Friday that forward/defenseman Chris Leibinger has signed with the team for the 2019-20 ECHL season.
Leibinger marks the fourth player announced this offseason, and the third returner from last year, joining Tyler Poulsen and Brandon Fehd in that respect.
Leibinger was originally acquired by the Rush off of waivers at the conclusion of the 2017-18 ECHL season, but did not report until training camp of last year’s campaign.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound swingman played both the forward and defense positions and had career-highs in virtually every category: seven goals, 20 assists, and 27 points in 60 games. Leibinger finished last season as the sixth leading scorer on the Rush, and held a share of third-best on the roster with 10 power play points (1ppg-9ppast).
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“I decided to come back because I loved the atmosphere in Rapid City. I felt at home and enjoyed going to the rink every day, and competing in front of our outstanding fans,” Leibinger said. “I think what worked so well for me last year was comfortability: the coaches gave me confidence to make plays and try new things. Simply put, I just played hard and had fun."
Rush head coach Daniel Tetrault said it was a high priority for the rush coaching staff to re-sign Leibinger this off-season.
"I am ecstatic that he’s returning to Rapid City,” Tetrault said. “Binger made an immediate impact for our team last year not just off the ice with how well he interacted with our fans and community, but also because of his innate ability to play a full 200-foot game at both the forward and defenseman positions. I plan on using Chris up the middle this season due to his high hockey IQ, and his willingness to do the little things on the ice. He’ll be relied upon for his skill, versatility, and leadership for this upcoming season.”