Forward Jake Pappalardo Signs First Pro Contract with Steelheads
BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Steelheads have signed forward Jake Pappalardo to an ECHL Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2021-22 season, marking his first professional contract after a four-year collegiate career, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Monday.
"It's a bit far from home for me, so I'm excited to experience a new city and state," said Pappalardo on moving to Boise. "I'm super excited to be part of the Steelheads organization."
Pappalardo, 24, played with College of the Holy Cross during the 2020-21 season to close his collegiate career, posting five goals and three assists for eight points with 12 penalty minutes through 13 games. The Salem, N.H. native spent two seasons at Holy Cross and posted 22 points (9-13-22) through 43 games following 22 games through his first two years at the University of Maine from 2016-17 through 2017-18. He did not play during his redshirt season in 2018-19 while transferring institutions.
The 5-foot-10 forward is the oldest of three brothers, who all play hockey at varying levels: his middle brother, Matt, also played in high school while his youngest brother, Ryan, is beginning his junior career in the Northeast. Jake shares an alma mater with Head Coach Everett Sheen, who played at Holy Cross from 2007-08 through 2010-11 prior to his professional career. That connection helped open the conversation for an entry point for his professional career with the Steelheads.
"Coach Sheen is a Holy Cross grad, so there was a connection there. I wanted to play in the U.S. before doing anything else, so it was a good fit for me [in Idaho]. The college game is really structured in a lot of ways, so I could use that to help get ready for the pro game and utilize my creativity to help generate offense.
"I was the one who had on the skates first. My dad had played growing up and in high school, so he helped me first and I just fell in love with the game. When we'd get home and play mini hockey, and it was always two-against-one with me on the short end of that stick. We had a lot of fun growing up together playing the game we loved."
"Jake brings speed and a great shot to our lineup," said Sheen on Pappalardo. "He is a versatile forward who can play up and down the lineup, whether it's on the wing or up the middle. Looking forward to bringing a fellow Holy Cross alum to the Treasure Valley."
Prior to his collegiate career, Pappalardo played three seasons with Proctor Academy in high school, earning 72 points during his final season in 2015-16 and was named to the USHS All-USA Hockey Second Team. He also participated in the USA Selects U17 Tournament, notching seven points (4-3-7) in five games.
"My goal is to be in the lineup and make an impact offensively," said Pappalardo. "One of my best assets is my shot, so I want to be able to help the team offensively and earn myself a larger role on the team."
Pappalardo is the 12th Steelheads player and seventh forward announced to an ECHL contract for the 2021-22 season, joining Zack Andrusiak, Luc Brown, Colby McAuley, Will Merchant, David Norris and A.J. White as well as defensemen Darren Brady, 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 25th Anniversary Reunion Game kicks off the 2021-22 season on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Idaho Central Arena! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Sep. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22. 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 leading into 2021 Training Camp on IdahoSteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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