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Steelheads Announce Multiple Transactions with Trade, Assignment & Signing

January 14, 2020 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Steelheads have acquired forward Colby McAuley from the Orlando Solar Bears in a three-team deal that sends forward Conner Bleackley to the Maine Mariners, Steelheads Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced Tuesday. In separate transactions, forward Anthony Nellis returns on assignment from the Texas Stars, and goaltender Jake Kupsky has been signed to a Standard Player Contract (SPC).

McAuley, 23, appeared in 25 games with the Solar Bears this season, posting three goals and 10 assists for 31 points with one power play goal, one shorthanded goal, and 41 penalty minutes. The Sherwood Park, Alb. native has spent a large portion of his professional career in the ECHL between Orlando and the Allen Americans beginning in the 2017-18 season. Combined between two seasons in Orlando and one in Allen, McAuley tallied 64 points (26-38-64) through 98 career ECHL games. He made his professional debut with the San Jose Barracuda (AHL) on Apr. 8, 2017 and earned his first assist against Stockton. In 36 AHL games with the Barracuda, the 6-foot, 185-pound forward owns 10 points (4-6-10).

Prior to his professional career, McAuley played three seasons with the Prince George Cougars (WHL) from 2014-15 through 2016-17, tallying 96 points (44-52-96) in 191 games with 318 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating. He served as an alternate captain for two seasons with the Cougars and was the WHL's most penalized player in the 2015-16 season.

Nellis, 25, made his AHL debut with AHL Texas on January 11 against the Toronto Marlies after being recalled on January 3. The 6-foot, 185-pound forward signed a contract with Texas during the off-season and has spent 33 games with the Steelheads in his rookie season, boasting 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points with one shorthanded goal, three game-winning goals, and a plus-three rating. The Breackeyville, Que. native leads the Steelheads in game-winning goals and netted the team's first hat-trick in three seasons in his last game on Dec. 31, 2019. Since making his ECHL debut with the Fort Wayne Komets, he has 30 points (16-14-30) in 43 games. In four collegiate seasons with Lake Superior State University prior to turning pro, Nellis tabbed 91 points (40-51-91) in 148 games and was named WCHA Third Team All-Star as well as a Hobey Baker Award nominee in his senior season.

Kupsky, 24, earns his first ECHL call-up following 10 games with the Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL), putting together a 8-1-1 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage while leading the SPHL in GAA and sitting second in save pct. The Waukesha, Wisc. product made his professional debut on November 27 against the Macon Mayhem and began with a six-game win streak. Kupsky played four seasons of collegiate play at Union College and worked to a 23-22-5 record in 59 career games with a 2.86 GAA and .900 save pct. with one shutout while also earning All-ECAC Hockey Third Team selection in 2017-18 season and being named to the Mike Richter Award Watch List in 2018-29. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound goaltender was selected 193rd overall (7th Round) by the San Jose Sharks in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Bleackley, 23, played 18 games with the Steelheads this season, tabbing 13 points (4-9-13) with one power play goal and four penalty minutes. The High River, Alb. native split time between the Steelheads and AHL Texas this season, where he added three goals and two assists for five points through 10 games. In 72 ECHL games, he owns 68 points (30-38-68) between Idaho, Kansas City and Tulsa while also tallying 33 points (11-22-33) in 132 career AHL games. He was selected 144th overall (5th Round) by the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7:10 p.m. against the Tulsa Oilers. The Hockey Starter Pack provides the benefits of the ultimate fan on the time you want! Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to inquire about getting your pack as well as planning your next outing with single-game tickets, flex plans and season tickets. Stay connected to the Steelheads on idahosteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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