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3 more sign: Durflinger returns & Iowa brings on Stucker and Brinkman

Friday, July 21st
3 more sign: Durflinger returns & Iowa brings on Stucker and Brinkman

Coralville, Iowa – Head Coach and General Manager Derek Damon announced the Iowa Heartlanders have come to terms on ECHL contracts with forward Jake Durflinger and defensemen Robbie Stucker and Ben Brinkman.Durflinger prepares for his second professional season after scoring ten goals and 20 points with Iowa as a rookie. Stucker and Brinkman are each starting their first full professional seasons.The new blueliners bring a strong size element to the back end; Stucker is 6-foot-3 and Brinkman is 6-foot-1. Additionally, Stucker (Columbus, 7th round, 2017) and Brinkman (Dallas, 6th round, 2019) are each former NHL draft selections that played together at the University of Minnesota for three seasons.The additions give Iowa 15 players signed to ECHL contracts.The Heartlanders open the 2023-24 season vs. the Rapid City Rush on Fri., Oct. 20 at 7:05 p.m. Season ticket memberships, mini-plans, partial plans and group tickets are available for the 2023-24 season by visiting iowaheartlanders.com/tickets and by calling 319-569-4625.2023-24 Roster (players signed to ECHL contracts)Forwards (9): Yuki Miura, Tanner MacMaster, Jesse Jacques, Mike Knaub, Davis Koch, Nick Campoli, Alec Broetzman, Odeen Tufto, Jake DurflingerDefensemen (5): Kevin McKernan, Chris Lipe, Nolan Orzeck, Ben Brinkman, Robbie StuckerGoaltenders (1): Peyton JonesHead Coach and General Manager Derek Damon:“It’s great to add another returner with Jake Durflinger and expand our blue line with Ben Brinkman and Robbie Stucker. We saw Jake make strides last season and this summer he’s focused on expanding what we saw from his game last season. Ben and Robbie are each intriguing prospects that we liked a lot on tape and are tough to push around. Ben is a big guy that’s had five years of development at the Big Ten Conference to continue to hone his game. Robbie got his first taste of pro experience with South Carolina at the end of last season, produced some points and showed a nice, two-way presence.”

Need to know Durflinger played in 50 games as a rookie with Iowa (10g, 20 pts.) after signing with the Heartlanders just after the start of the regular season. He was second on Iowa with 81 penalty minutes and had a strong offensive burst in the season’s final month, scoring seven goals between Mar. 18 – Apr. 7.  Last season was the first time since 2016-17 Durflinger hit double-digit goals in a campaign (Bloomington Thunder, USHL). At the NCAA level, Durflinger played four years for Denver (2017-21) and his fifth NCAA season at Merrimack College (2021-22), combining for 42 points (18g) in 165 NCAA games. The Walnut Creek, CA native stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds.Brinkman, 22, played four years at the University of Minnesota (2018-22) and his final NCAA season at Notre Dame (2022-23). He made the 2022 Frozen Four with Minnesota. Last season for the Fighting Irish, he contributed two goals, four points and 20 penalty minutes. The Edina, MN native captained Edina High School in 2018 and helped the team finish third at the Minnesota High School Hockey Tournament.  Stucker teamed up with Brinkman on the Golden Gophers’ blue line from 2018-21 and then skated his final two NCAA seasons at the University of Vermont (2021-23). He found an offensive touch for the Catamounts, combining for seven goals and 29 points. He applied that to his first professional experience with ECHL South Carolina (1g, 7 pts., +9 rating in 10 GP). The Chaska, MN native won the 2018 Clark Cup with the Fargo Force and captained St. Thomas Academy in 2016-17.