Coventry Blaze head coach Danny Stewart has completed his 2021/22 blueline by securing the signature of 25-year-old Arizona State University graduate Joey Raats.
The Las Vegas native will link up with David Clements, Justin Hamonic, Dillon Eichstadt, Nathanael Halbert, and Dane Gibson in defence, adding NCAA, ECHL, and Ligue Magnus experience to the mix in the City of Culture.
“In Joey we are getting a very dependable two-way guy,” Stewart said of Raats’ arrival.
“He’s a right-shot [defenceman] that skates well and is a very good puck mover. He compliments our back-end, where we feel we have a good balance of mobility, size and puck movement. Again, we had glowing references on Joey’s character and willingness as a teammate, therefore we feel he will fit into our group very well.”
A key member of the Sioux Falls Stampede’s Clark Cup-winning roster of 2014/15, Raats spent three years in the NCAA with Arizona State University where he registered 28 points (five goals, 23 assists) in 79 appearances between 2015 and 2018.
Following his graduation, the 84kg defenceman iced 38 times for the Utah Grizzlies in the ECHL, contributing eight points (two goals, six assists) in his rookie season. A year in France followed, with Raats notching six points (five goals, one assist) in 32 games for Briancon and Gap.
The American-Canadian skater will make his Blaze debut on Wednesday 15 September in a pre-season fixture against the Manchester Storm in a 19:30 face-off at the Skydome Arena.
Four days later, the Guildford Flames will travel to Coventry for a Challenge Cup encounter, with Stewart’s side beginning their regular-season campaign on home ice against the Fife Flyers on Saturday 25 September.
Blaze Signings So Far:
C.J. Motte – 29-year-old goalie, USA
Jordan Hedley – 24-year-old goalie, GBR
David Clements – 26-year-old defenceman, GBR
Justin Hamonic – 27-year-old defenceman, CAN
Dillon Eichstadt – 27-year-old defenceman, USA
Nathanael Halbert – 25-year-old defenceman, CAN-GBR
Dane Gibson – 27-year-old defenceman, CAN
Joey Raats – 25-year-old defenceman, USA-CAN
Ross Venus – 27-year-old forward, GBR
Alex Forbes – 25-year-old forward/defenceman, GBR
Luke Ferrara – 28-year-old forward, GBR
Johnny Curran – 26-year-old forward, CAN
Janne Laakkonen – 39-year-old forward, FIN
Alec Marsh – 25-year-old forward, USA
David Broll – 28-year-old forward, CAN
Matthew Thompson – 27-year-old forward, CAN
Evan Bloodoff – 30-year-old forward, CAN
Ryan Penny – 26-year-old forward, CAN
Sam Russell – 21-year-old defenceman, GBR (Milton Keynes Lightning)
Austin Mitchell-King – 19-year-old forward, GBR (Telford Tigers)