Pensacola Ice Flyers ink last free agent signing


Bill Vilona

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Special to the News Journal


Published 4:47 p.m. CT Aug. 13, 2019

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Joseph Drapluk and his twin brother Brian learned hockey by watching an older brother play in a roller hockey league near Fort Lauderdale.

From that youth-league experience, he became an accomplished ice hockey player, earned a collegiate scholarship, then made his pro debut last year with the Pensacola Ice Flyers.

The Floridian plans a return this season.

Joe Drapluk, 25, was announced as the Pensacola Ice Flyers’ last offseason signing for 2019 on Tuesday. (Photo: Contributed)

Joe Drapluk, 25, a winger, who resides in Pembroke Pines, was announced Tuesday by the Ice Flyers as their latest free agent signing. He played 13 games last season, including three in the playoffs, after his collegiate career was completed at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

In his career at the NCAA Division III program, he scored 27 goals, 23 assists for 50 points. In his short time with the Ice Flyers, Drapluk produced eight goals and five assists.

More: Ice Flyers sign NCAA national champ Blake Young to roster

“Joe’s game transitioned well last year when he came in to finish the year from college,” said Ice Flyers coach Rod Aldoff. “He has a head for the game in all three zones and in all situations. He is the type of person we want here in Pensacola.

“I’m looking forward to having him back in an Ice Flyers jersey and having a tremendous year for our team.”

Drapluk played for Aldoff as a junior-league (high school age) player for the SIJHL Minnesota Wilderness. That team won the 2013 SIJHL championship and played for the Junior A National Championship in the RBC Cup.

“I’m grateful to be back in Pensacola,” Drapluk said. “I’m excited to get the season going and I am looking forward to competing for a championship. It means a lot to be playing pro hockey in the state I was born and raised in.”

Drapluk becomes the Ice Flyers’ fifth free agent signing. He joins returning forwards Blake Young, Garett Milan and Brett D’Andrea, along with defenseman Jesse Kessler, who have been announced in the past two weeks.

The Ice Flyers begin their season Oct. 18-19 at home against the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs at the Bay Center.

Bill Vilona is a retired Pensacola News Journal sports columnist and current senior writer for Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Studer55. He can be reached at bvilona@bluewahoos.com.


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