NFL, NBA, NHL stats

Defenseman Eric Sweetman Agrees to Return to Steelheads for 2019-20 Season

July 5, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release

BOISE, Idaho - Defenseman Eric Sweetman has agreed to terms with the Idaho Steelheads for the 2019-20 season, returning to the Treasure Valley for his third season, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham announced Friday.

"I think [Kyle Schempp] said it better, that we have unfinished business," said Sweetman. "I'm excited to come back. Boise is an unbelievable place, and it's going to go further."

Sweetman, 25, played 33 games with the Steelheads during the 2018-19 season, posting two goals and eight assists for 10 points with 13 penalty minutes. The Woodbine, Md. native also earned his first career AHL call-up with the Grand Rapids Griffins, playing two games after making his AHL debut on April 5 against San Jose. After making his professional debut with the Steelheads on Oct. 13, 2017, he has earned 12 goals and 25 assists for 37 points with a plus-16 rating through 98 career games with the Steelheads.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defenseman has earned the reputation over the last two seasons as one of the more physical defensemen in the organization, boasting big, timely hits while also working out of battles to help lead transition play. Now heading into this third season with the Steelheads, Sweetman has learned how to be effective with his size and positioning while also being an offensive threat.

"It's kind of the mindset. I know I'm going to be the smaller guy in the battle most of the time, and I just have the idea in my head that it doesn't matter how big or strong you are. It's your will, so that's what I kind of what I take to my physical game. It's helped out, but I just view a low of it as mental."

"We're pleased to announce the return of Eric Sweetman," said Graham. "He is a player who brings poise and offense to our blue line. He is elusive with the puck and makes plays. Defensively, is of one of our most physical defenders and takes great pride in his own end."

Prior to his professional career, Sweetman played four seasons with St. Lawrence University, tallying 16 goals and 48 assists for 64 points with a plus-39 rating through 146 games while serving as assistant captain during his junior and senior seasons. He earned Second Team All-ECAC in 2014-15 and 2015-16 while being named ECAC Hockey Media Associations Best Defensive Defenseman in 2017.

Sweetman becomes the fourth player and second defenseman announced by the Steelheads for the 2019-20 season, joining defenseman Jeff King, forward and Tuesday's signee Kyle Schempp, and Captain A.J. White. Future announcements and signings will be announced throughout the summer.

"I kind of just have excitement throughout the entire summer," said Sweetman. "You'll get a little more excited once you start heading out there, then once you start seeing everyone the excitement is through the roof. You're eager to get back at it with the guys."

The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Friday, Oct. 18 for the 2019-20 Home Opener against the Wichita Thunder. Season tickets and flex plans for the 2019-20 season are now available! Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for next season. Stay connected to the Steelheads throughout the summer on or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

• Discuss this story on the ECHL message board...

ECHL Stories from July 5, 2019

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.