The San Antonio Rampage continued to build their roster last week with the signings of 4 players. Right Winger Eric Selleck and newly acquired Center Casey Wellman both signed new, one-year deals with the Florida Panthers and Wingers Josh Birkholz and Justin Vaive inked AHL deals with the Rampage.
Birkholz was selected as one of the members of Team USA at the 2008 World Junior Challenge in Alberta. Josh was able to score 3 goals in 5 games as he and team USA skated to the championship game where they left as gold medalists. He spent the 2008-09 season with the Fargo Force of the USHL. In 51 games with the Force he was able to net 21 goals and add another 15 assists, before moving on to the University of Minnesota the following season. The Florida Panthers 2009 3rd round (67th overall) Draft Pick from Maple Grove, Minnesota, appeared in 36 games with the Gophers and picked up 5 goals, 1 assist and 20 penalty minutes along the way. In the fall of 2010, Birkholz announced that he would not be returning for another season at the University of Minnesota and instead signed with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Josh has played 138 regular season games with the Silvertips over the past two seasons and tallied 39 assists in addition to the 47 goals he has scored.
Vaive, a Buffalo, New York native, began a two-year stint with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in 2005. The son of former NHLer Rick Vaive played in a total of 39 games for the USNTDP, netting 8 goals and 9 assists over the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. Justin was drafted in the 4th round (92nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks before starting his first year at Miami University (Ohio). During his four years with the Redhawks, Vaive recorded a total of 23 goals, 23 assists and 208 penalty minutes. Last year he split time with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL and the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. In 40 games with the Cyclones, Vaive found the back of the net 6 times and was able to assist on 12 of his teammates’ goals as well. His play earned him a 15-game call up with the Rampage in the spring. Although the 6-foot-4 left winger was held pointless, Justin racked up 10 penalty minutes while with San Antonio.
Both players are looking to continue their development and are hoping to find themselves in the Rampage’s lineup soon. Birkholz is a player who has the ability to play a solid two-way game and Vaive is a big player whose hunger for competition makes him a nice addition to any team.
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