While the majority of the Kootenay Ice are going off to get some much-needed rest, one Kootenay Ice player is looking to make the jump to the next level right away.
Finishing his season on Saturday night, 20-year-old forward Alec Baer has already signed on to join the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL (formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League) for the remainder of their 2017-18 campaign.
The Rush, who play out of South Dakota, are the second-tier affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Originally from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, joining the Wild organization is exciting news for Baer.
“It’s really cool [and] it would be a dream come true for sure [to join the Wild],” Baer said. “I will reset for a couple of days here and then get right back to work.”
Baer, who joined the WHL in 2012-13 with a six-game stint for the Vancouver Giants, was a regular in the league for five seasons. Playing three-and-a-half seasons with the Giants, half-a-year with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and this past season with Kootenay, he played 342 regular season games and put up 86 goals and 187 points.
According to Baer, he will embrace the experience at the pro level and then take some time over the summer to decide on his next move.
“‘ll go up there and see how it is, see what I like, and see where it takes me.”
This past season with Kootenay, Baer had 30 goals and 31 assists and finished the season by winning the team’s ‘Player Award’ as the best player according to his peers. While he’s excited by his next step, he is also a little sad to be leaving Cranbrook.
“All the boys [here were] close to each other, so we’re always hanging out,” Baer said. “It is a great group of guys, all the new coaching staff, all the management was unbelievable for this team. I think the future is so bright with all of them back there.”
The Rush have eight games remaining this season, with three matches coming up against the Idaho Steelheads in Boise from March 21 to 24. The Rush are currently in last place in the ECHL’s Mountain division with a record of 21-38-3-2.