INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy Fuel, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, announced that they have signed forwards and twin brothers Matt and Ryan Rupert for the 2017-18 season.
Having played together for the bulk of their careers, the 23-year-olds from Grand Bend, Ontario rejoin each other after spending most of the previous two seasons apart. The Ruperts were both standouts with the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, helping their team to three consecutive Memorial Cup appearances from 2012-14. During those three seasons, Matt and Ryan combined for a total of 317 points (120g-197a) and 455 penalty minutes. The twins last played on the same team during a seven-game stint with the Orlando Solar Bears to begin the 2015-16 season, before Ryan was dealt to the Ottawa Senators organization.
Matt finished third among Fuel players in 2016-17 with 21 goals and 37 points, setting career highs in each offensive category. He was the only skater to dress in all 72 games for Indy, winning the club’s Penalty Killer Award for his dependability on both sides of the puck.
The older brother by 10 minutes, Matt made his professional debut when he dressed for two games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies at the end of the 2014-15 season, before spending the entire 2015-16 campaign in Orlando. In 125 ECHL contests, Matt has recorded 56 points (32g-24a) and 104 minutes in penalties. Before turning pro – in his first season playing without Ryan – Matt finished fourth on London’s roster with 75 points (30g-45a), serving as the Knights’ alternate captain. Matt finished his OHL career with 233 points (105g-128a) and 300 penalty minutes in 240 total games.
Ryan tallied 21 points (9g-12a) in 29 games with Wichita last season, in addition to six points (3g-3a) over 33 AHL contests with Binghamton. Entering his fourth year as a pro, he has accumulated 58 points (31g-27a) and 113 penalty minutes over 149 AHL games with the Senators and Marlies, on top of 40 points (17g-23a) in 53 total ECHL contests with Wichita and Orlando.
A sixth-round selection (157th overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Ryan made his pro debut with the Marlies in 2014-15, suiting up for 57 games his rookie season. In 224 total OHL games over four seasons in London, he collected 194 points (58g-136a) and 279 penalty minutes.