Early August, the Jacksonville Icemen signed defenseman Mike Ratchuk (5’-11” 190 lbs), making him the first defenseman in franchise history. The 29-year-old was the second round draft pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006 and will returning to play in the United States this season.
Ratchuk has played in five different leagues after his two seasons at Michigan State University. The South Buffalo, New York native went straight to the AHL and played four seasons with four different teams. He also brings international experience to the Icemen, as he played one season in Austria and spent last season in the United Kingdom with the Sheffield Steelers (EIHL).
It’s rare to find a quality two-way defenseman in hockey, but the Icemen landed one in Ratchuk. In the 2013-14 season with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Ratchuk registered 44 points in 69 games. During that season, he also scored a career-high 15 goals. In his entire ECHL career, the left-shot defenseman has scored 35 times and is nearing the century mark in assists with 92. His size and speed will pose a threat to opponents across the league.
One thing that stands out most about Ratchuk is his reliability. In 45 games with the Sheffield Steelers, he only tallied 16 penalty infraction minutes (PIM). During the postseason, Ratchuk averaged 4.4 PIM during five Kelly Cup Playoffs runs in the ECHL. With Ratchuk staying out of the box, the Icemen can spend more time on the attack.
Don’t miss out on seeing Mike Ratchuk and the rest of the Jacksonville Icemen for Opening Night on Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. against the Orlando Solar Bears. To find out more information, please call (904) 602-7825 or click HERE.