Behind the ECHL Benches – Mark Desantis, Rapid City Rush

Mark DeSantis has been involved with professional hockey for over two decades as either a player or a coach, and on Feb.17, 2016, became the new head coach of the Rapid City Rush. The Brampton, Ontario native came back to the Rush organization after serving as a head coach in the SPHL and CHL as the Associate Coach of the Rush prior to his promotion.


His relationship with Joe Ferras began in the 2000-01 season with the New Mexico Scorpions of the WPHL, and continued to the Amarillo Gorillas several seasons later in the CHL, where DeSantis served as a player-assistant under Ferras for four seasons. When the Rush organization began play in the 2008-09 season, DeSantis was the first player to ever be signed by the organization. He finished his career as the inaugural captain of the Rush, acting as a player-assistant one last time for Ferras before hanging up his skates and beginning the next phase of his career. In his lone season with the Rush, DeSantis was an “Iron Man”, playing in all 64 regular season games, and contributing 20 points (3g-17a).


After the conclusion of his playing career, DeSantis made the transition to coaching and was an assistant coach for the Rush for three seasons, where he helped the Rush win their only CHL Championship in the 2009-10 season. He followed his time as an assistant with the Rush to become the head coach of the Fayetteville FireAntz in the SPHL.


As a head coach, DeSantis has seen nothing but success. In his first and only year with the FireAntz in the 2012-13 season, DeSantis lead his club to a 35-18-3 record, an SPHL regular-season championship, and was honored as the SPHL Coach of the Year. Following his success in North Carolina, DeSantis became the inaugural head coach of his hometown Brampton Beast in the CHL, the first Canadian expansion team in league history. As their bench boss, he helped the team to a 33-26-7 record and qualified for the playoffs in their first year, but fell at the hands of the eventual two-time defending CHL champion Allen Americans in the opening playoff round in five games. As a player, DeSantis was a leader, whether it be in the locker room, out in the community, or wearing a “C” on his chest with the teams he played with.


Over the course of his 16 year career as a defenseman, he played 1,001 games in six different leagues, while scoring 604 points (143g-461a), and and was named the WPHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman in the 2000-01 season.

Coaching Record

Reg. Season



Gms W L T
2012-13 Fayetteville (SPHL) 56 35 18 3 2 0 2
2013-14 Brampton (CHL) 66 33 26 7 5 1 4
2015-16 Rapid City Rush (ECHL) 24 12 9 3
ECHL Totals 24 12 9 3