September 15, 2005 - International Hockey League 2 (IHL 2) - Muskegon Lumberjacks
MUSKEGON, MI.--- As the next new season approaches rather rapidly for the 15th season of competition for the United Hockey League, the circuit\'s summit sovereigns, the two-time reigning Colonial Cup Champions Muskegon Fury continue to make positive inroads in solidifying their back line of defense for another title defense in the upcoming 2005-06 season. The most recent significant development for the UHL\'s and minor pro hockey\'s all-time top winning team has gained fruition by virtue of the trade market.
Today, the Fury Club Owner and Team President Tony Lisman, in collaboration with Director of Hockey Operations / Head Coach Todd Nelson, have announced that the organization has completed a two-player trade involving the defense department. In this transaction, the Fury have acquired defenseman STEVE O\'ROURKE from the defending Eastern Division titlists, the Adirondack Frostbite. In exchange, Muskegon has dispatched defenseman KEVIN HAUPT to the Glens Falls, NY club.
O\'ROURKE, 31, will report to his new squad set to embark on his seventh pro season overall and his second in the UHL. The rangy 6-2, 200lb defender comes to "Title Town" expressly to further augment a Fury defensive corps which grudgingly surrendered the fewest GA in the UHL in 2004-05 when the Central Division, Tarry Cup and Colonial Cup kingpins sported a stingy, stellar 2.44 GAA on a mere 195-GA. The left-hand shooting member of the blue line brigade totes to "Team Title" both a vast and rich resume of experiences and credentials achieved in both the North America and global arenas. While at the same time, he is also coming off an excellent, exemplary 2004-05 campaign with the Adirondack club.
In his lone season with the Frostbite, O\'Rourke plied his hallmark, trademark defense-first style in top-drawer fashion. Helping spearhead his team to a superb record of 80(48-24-8) for 104-points, the native of Summerland, British Columbia collected 17-points in 69-games on 2-goals, 15-assists and amassing 92-PIM. His sterling +18 rating ranked as second-best for Adirondack. Included in his numbers\' profile from last year was the playing of his 200th pro game on October 31, 2004 at Danbury.
O\'Rourke\'s steadying and stabilizing influence, which lends itself so positively to a team\'s defense, was also apparent in the 2003-04 season spent in Mississippi with the ECHL Sea Wolves. Spurring the Biloxi-based squadron to a mighty second-place finish in the Central Division of the Western Conference with an outstanding mark of 72(45-20-7) and 97-points, he was acclaimed his team\'s victor of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. O\'Rourke essayed 27-points in 70-games on 5-goals, 22-assists, along with 96-PIM and a brilliant +27 rating which ranked him fourth best in the latter category.
The Fury\'s newest acquisition caught the eye of his new coach in past on-ice battles and T. Nelson is well-satisfied with what he has seen and what he now has on his Fury defense. "We were looking for our defense to take a slightly different direction and today\'s acquisition of Steve O\'Rourke should certainly take us there. We needed a defenseman with a little bit of a different style. Steve brings with us great experience and leadership qualities. He is a very respons-ible, stay-at-home defenseman who plays smart and with savvy. He will bring excellent character to our dressing room, not only as a key player, but also because he is intelligent, a stand-up guy and a solid citizen. Steve is the type of player that we want in the Fury dressing room."
Originally selected by the New York Islanders in the seventh round, 159th overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, O\'Rourke spent three full seasons performing in the British Ice Hockey Super League (BISL) with the Bracknell Bees from 2000-2003.
Following an outstanding major junior A\' career in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and the Moose Jaw Warriors and a two-year stint in the BCJHL with the Penticton Panthers, he enrolled and played for three years at the University of Lethbridge.
In 260-pro career games, his statistical profile reads: 260(19-71-90) with 313-PIM.
His brother, Dan O\'Rourke is also integrally involved in professional hockey, serving as a referee in the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League.
As for the departed Kevin Haupt, the Fury signed him as a free agent in the summer of 2004 after spending most of his pro career in the ECHL. Now being classified under UHL "Veteran Status," for the 2005-06 season, Haupt was 72(4-11-15) for Muskegon during the 2004-05 regular season. He was especially effective in the Fury\'s latest surge to Colonial Cup IV last spring posting 17(2-3-5) with both of his goals deemed GWG.