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Defensemen Ryan Wheeler and Jake Stevens re-sign with Iowa

Tuesday, July 19th
Defensemen Ryan Wheeler and Jake Stevens re-sign with Iowa

Coralville, Iowa – The Iowa Heartlanders, proud ECHL affiliates of the Minnesota Wild and Iowa Wild, announced rookie defensemen Ryan Wheeler and Jake Stevens agreed to an ECHL contracts for the 2022-23 campaign.Wheeler signed with the Heartlanders in March after completing four seasons at the University of Connecticut. Stevens appeared in 11 games and amassed eight points (1g) in the final month of the season after completing his NCAA career at Long Island University.The tandem gives the Heartlanders six skaters signed for the 2022-23 campaign.2022-23 RosterForwards (3): Zach White, Yuki Miura, Jake SmithDefensemen (3): Riese Zmolek, Ryan Wheeler, Jake StevensGoaltenders (1): Corbin KaczperskiHead Coach & General Manager Derek Damon: “It was a joy having Ryan on the Heartlanders for the final month of the season and it’s great to have him back for 2022-23. He played well as a young player out of NCAA and brings a positive attitude to our room. When we signed Ryan and Jake, we knew those first few games of pro experience would be important for them to further their development and give a base to work on heading into the offseason. Jake took meaningful steps forward with us at the end of last season and we saw some really strong glimpses of what type of blue liner he can be at this level. We like his size and skating ability and with a strong summer we know he will be ready to strongly contribute this season.”Wheeler fast factsThe left-handed shot accumulated one assist and eight penalty minutes in his first 12 games of professional hockey. At UConn from 2018-22, Wheeler scored four goals and 12 points in 108 career games (36 PIM, plus-7 rating). He is a native of Lancaster, NY, stands 6-foot and weighs 190 pounds.“I got a little taste of the Heartland last season and loved every minute of it,” Wheeler said. “I trust the coaching staff to continue my development and playing there last season gave me a good taste of what I need to work on this summer to keep improving.”Stevens fast facts Stevens posted personal-collegiate-bests of four goals and 17 points in 2021-22 with LIU. Stevens also brings a Midwest flavor to the team; he is a native of Naperville, IL and played junior hockey for the Chicago Fury and Lake Forest Academy before advancing to the BCHL (Victoria Grizzlies). Over a five-season NCAA career (St. Lawrence 2017-21, Long Island Univ. 2021-22), Stevens scored 11 goals and 57 points. He won an ECAC conference championship with St. Lawrence in 2020-21.“I really enjoyed playing for the coaches and for Derek last season. I got a lot of opportunities and think it's great to be coming back. This offseason I’m headed back home to Chicago area soon and working on a few things before the start of the season.”      The Heartlanders 2022-23 schedule is now available at iowaheartlanders.com/schedule. The team opens their second season in the ECHL on October 21 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Idaho. Rose Club season ticket memberships, partial plans and group ticket options are available for the upcoming season by calling 319-569-GOAL and visiting iowaheartlanders.com/tickets.