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Steelheads Sign Forward Willie Knierim, Claim Defenseman Ryan Orgel

January 26, 2022 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads News Release

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Steelheads signed forward Willie Knierim to a Standard Player Contract (SPC) for the 2021-22 season and claimed defenseman Ryan Orgel off waivers from the South Carolina Stingrays, Steelheads Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced on Wednesday.

Knierim, 24, played 15 games with Arizona State University to start the 2021-22 season, posting two assists with four penalty minutes. The Chicago, Ill. native played three years at Arizona State starting in 2019-20 and amassed 20 goals and 15 assists for 35 points with 67 penalty minutes through 69 games. In parts of five collegiate seasons between Arizona State and Miami University (Ohio), Knierim earned 44 points through 118 games with 106 penalty minutes.

Prior to his collegiate career, the 6-foot-4 forward played three seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) from 2014-15 through 2015-16 then again in 2018-19, totaling 102 points (44-58-102) and 391 penalty minutes through 173 games, leading Dubuque in penalty minutes in his final two season as well as sitting in the top-five in the league in that category. He was named assistant captain during the 2018-19 season and played with Team USA during the 2016 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the 2016 World Jr. A Challenge, where he helped earn a bronze medal.

Orgel, 24, made his professional debut with the Utah Grizzlies on December 27 against Rapid City and appeared in three games this season. He completed his final two collegiate seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2019-20 and 2020-21, posting five goals and eight assists for 13 points through 21 games. He led Wisconsin-Stevens Point defenseman in scoring and shared the overall team lead in goals during the 2019-20 season, and he was a member of the 2020 WCHC Championship team during the 2019-20 pandemic-shortened season.

The Steelheads return to Idaho Central Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 26 to open a three-game weekend against the Kansas City Mavericks. Single-game tickets are available for all home games during the 2021-22 regular season by going to or calling 331-TIXS! Make sure to secure your FloSports subscription for the 2021-22 season to lock in all Steelheads games and action from around the ECHL.

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