EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The Evansville Thunderbolts announced today the signing of six players to next season's roster. Two of these signings, defenseman Robbie Hall and goaltender Ian Sylves, are returning Thunderbolts. Another signing, forward Pijus Rulevicius, played in the SPHL last season with the Mississippi RiverKings.
The other three signings, defenseman Ben Owen, and forwards Ryan Staynor and Beau Walker, are looking to making their professional debuts with the Thunderbolts.
• Ben Owen (Defense) – A 24 year old native of Allen, Texas, Owen spent the last four seasons playing college hockey, skating for Northland College and St. Mary's University Minnesota. In 2017-18, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound defenseman tallied a career best 3 goals and 9 points in 19
games with St. Mary's.
"I'm very excited for this opportunity, I've always wanted to play professional hockey and I think Evansville will be a great place to start my career," Owen said.
• Robbie Hall (Defense) – The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Schaumburg, Ill. has been a major staple of the Evansville defense, playing in parts of both Thunderbolts seasons to date. Last season, Hall established career highs, scoring 5 goals and 12 points in 44 games with Evansville, after starting the year with an assist in 6 games with Mississippi. "Im honored and excited to re-sign with Evansville," said Hall. "With the young core we are bringing back mixed with the veteran presence and leadership, I feel we will be a fast, physical, and skilled group, build on last season's success, and go deeper in the playoffs."
• Pijus Rulevicius (Forward) – After four years at St. Norbert College, the 6-foot-0, 205-pound native of Warrenville, Mic. played a pivotal role in his rookie season in 2017-18 with the Mississippi RiverKings, scoring 4 goals and 14 points in 45 games.
• Ryan Stayner (Forward) – Stayner, who stands at 6-foot-1, 194-pounds, is coming off of four seasons of college hockey at SUNY-Buffalo State, where he played alongside Thunderbolts goaltender Ian Sylves all four years. The Youngstown, NY. Native had his best season in 2017-18, scoring 5 goals and 7 points in 23 games. "Playing professional hockey has been a long-term goal of mine," said Stayner. "I am grateful for the opportunity to play for the Thunderbolts organization this upcoming season."
• Ian Sylves (Goaltender) – The Sloan, NY. native made his professional debut with the Thunderbolts, and would play in 5 total regular-season games in 2017-18, posting a 3-1-1 record along with a .916 save percentage. Sylves, who measures 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, was-morealso in goal for two playoff games for Evansville back in April. "I'm thrilled to be brought back by the team that gave me my first opportunity to play professional hockey," said Sylves. "It's humbling to be a part of this team, and I'm looking forward to building on last season's success."
• Beau Walker (Forward) – After playing in the NAHL for parts of four seasons, the West Richland, WA. native forward played the past five seasons at the college hockey level, all with Eastern Washington University in British Columbia. 2017-18 was the best of the 6-foot-0, 185-pound forward's years with Eastern Washington, as he finished at a goal-per-game pace, tallying 22 goals and 36 points in 22 games. "It is a tremendous opportunity for me to be able to compete for a spot on the Thunderbolts roster," said Walker. "I plan to come in and contribute right away alongside the veterans from previous seasons, and most importantly contend for a championship. See you in October, Evansville fans!"
These six players join Brandon Lubin, Hunter Stewart, Mike Fazio, Fred Hein, and Taylor Cutting on October's training camp roster.