Colby McAuley Returns for Second Steelheads Stint
BOISE, Idaho - Forward Colby McAuley returns to the Idaho Steelheads for the 2021-22 season, signing an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) to enter his second season in the Treasure Valley, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Tuesday.
"I got a good chance when I was with the Steelheads before," said McAuley on the 2019-20 season. "I love the guys, I love the atmosphere that the fans have-best in the ECHL by far-and it's a great city that reminds me of home."
McAuley, 25, played 20 games for the Allen Americans during the 2020-21 season, posting eight goals and eight assists for 16 points with 38 penalty minutes, three power play goals, and a plus-four rating. The Sherwood Park, Alb. native was acquired by the Steelheads on Jan. 14, 2020 from the Orlando Solar Bears and made an immediate impact on the lineup, tallying 12 points (8-4-12) in 19 games with 27 penalty minutes, two power play goals and one shorthanded goal. Combined with his total with Orlando that season, he put together a 25-point (11-14-25) season through 44 games in 2019-20.
The 6-foot forward began his professional career in the 2016-17 season, making his debut with the San Jose Barracuda (AHL) and picking up an assist in his professional debut on Apr. 8, 2017. Since then, McAuley has also appeared with the Americans and Solar Bears over the last four-plus seasons since his ECHL debut in 2017-18, putting together 92 points (42-50-92) with seven penalty minutes, two shorthanded goals and 274 penalty minutes through 137 games. Despite only spending two months in Boise, McAuley learned how deep the hockey culture goes and credits fans and the hockey operations staff for his decision.
"I was given an opportunity with Everett [Sheen] and the team to just do my thing. I'm going back to a hockey operations staff that's run really well and you know they're going to treat you really well. It's a class act organization. You know you're going to give it back to them off the ice.
"Boise is a hockey city. When I got there [in 2020] the fans were out of control, and it was awesome. When we were ready to play, they would show up. This year coming in, it should be just where it left off. I'm sure they're going to be excited to have us coming back, and we feel the same way about them."
"Colby showed that he is a very capable offensive producer as well as being a thorn in the side of any opponent," said Sheen. "We like the game that Colby plays and know he is a tremendous fit for the Steelheads. We only got a short taste of what he is capable of in 2019-20, but he was for sure a fan favorite in that short amount of time. We're very excited to have Colby from the start, and we know he will be a big piece of our identity and culture."
Prior to his professional career, McAuley played three seasons with the Prince George Cougars (WHL) from 2014-15 through 2016-17 and was named an assistant captain for his final two seasons. In that time, he earned 96 points (44-52-96) with 318 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating through 191 games and led the WHL in penalty minutes (156) in his second season. His career-year was his final in junior play, owning 55 points (26-29-55) in 68 games with a plus-16 rating in 2016-17.
McAuley is the 10th Steelheads player and sixth forward announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining forwards Zack Andrusiak, Luc Brown, Will Merchant, David Norris and A.J. White, defensemen Casey Johnson and Evan Wardley, and goaltenders Matt Jurusik and Jake Kupsky. Future announcements and signings will be announced throughout the summer, and you can follow who's been added on the team's Summer Signing Tracker.
The Steelheads are back for the 2021-22 season! Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22 against the Utah Grizzlies at Idaho Central Arena. Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for the return of hockey to Downtown Boise! Stay connected to the Steelheads all summer long on IdahoSteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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