Rush add pair of European products


RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Rush, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes and AHL’s Springfield Falcons, announced the club has signed defenseman Filip Bjork and forward Mikhail Stefanovich for the 2015-16 season.

Bjork comes to the Rush after spending the 2014-15 campaign with Fassa of the Italian League. In Italy, the 6’0”, 194-pounder recorded 22 points (6g-16a) in just 35 games, while also serving as an assistant captain for the club. A native of Sollentuna, Sweden, Bjork has played in 179 games as a professional all across Europe, recording 53 points (9g-44), and claiming a bronze medal in the Belarusian Extraliga in the 2011-12 season. Prior to playing professionally, Bjork spent four seasons at New England College, where he was named to three consecutive ECAC All-Academic Teams from 2007-10. He is no stranger to the ECHL, as he suited up for the Bakersfield Condors as an amateur for 3 games at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season.

Stefanovich joins the Rush after spending a season with Dizel Penza, a minor-league affiliate of the KHL’s Atlant Moscow Region. While in the VHL, the 6’2”, 214-pound forward posted six points (3g-3a) along with a +5 rating in just 12 games. Over the course of his career, which has spanned five seasons, the Minsk, Belarus native has played all across the professional landscape, making stops in the ECHL (Reading Royals), AHL (Toronto Marlies), KHL and the Belarusian Extraliga, where he finished with a bronze medal in the 2011-12 season, and the Belarus Cup the next year in the 2012-13 season, both with HK Gomel. Additionally, he has represented his home country of Belarus in international competition at the World Junior Championship, World Championship and Olympic Qualifying levels. Before turning pro, Stefanovich played his junior hockey with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL and was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fourth round (98th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.