Matt Rupert was a critical piece of the Indy Fuel’s 2016-17 squad, as a high-energy, all-situations player who was also one of the team’s three 20-goal scorers.
So, why not have one Rupert when you can have two?
Both Matt Rupert and his twin brother Ryan Rupert have signed to play with the Fuel in 2017-18.
Matt had an outstanding first year with the Fuel, playing both wings and tallying 21 goals and 16 assists. He was the only player to suit up in all 72 games, and he played a number of key roles and played in all situations with the team. He was second on the team in goals and third in points.
Ryan will be entering his fourth pro season. A sixth-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2012, he has split his career between the Toronto and Ottawa organizations. Last season, he split time between the Senators’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton and the ECHL affiliate in Wichita. He had nine goals and 12 assists in 29 ECHL games with the Thunder, and had six points in 33 AHL games. Over his career, Ryan Rupert has 17 goals and 23 assists in 53 ECHL games with Orlando and Wichita, and 31 goals and 27 assists in 149 AHL games with Toronto and Binghamton.
While the two are twins, Ryan turned pro a year earlier than Matt, who has played two ECHL seasons, with 32 goals and 24 assists in 125 games. Matt played the 2015-16 season in Orlando before signing with the Fuel.
Before turning pro, Matt and Ryan were teammates in midget and junior hockey, playing three and a half seasons together with the OHL’s London Knights, winning OHL titles in 2011 and 2013. Each served as an alternate captain in his last year with the Knights – Ryan in 2013-14 and Matt the following year. Not only were they teammates in London, they also were briefly teammates with Orlando in 2015-16 – during which Matt played 53 games and Ryan played seven while spending much of the year in the AHL. Both players stand 5-foot-8 and weigh in at approximately 175 pounds, and both are left-shot forwards.
Both players are natives of London, Ontario, each recently turned 23.
The two signings give the Fuel four forwards and one defenseman under contract for 2017-18. Ryan Rupert becomes the second newcomer to the roster, joining Andrew Schmit, who signed last week. Forward Nick Bligh and defenseman Chris Williams have also been signed for 2017-18.
Fuel 2017-18 roster
- Nick Bligh (6-0, 185, Milton, Mass.). Age: 24. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: South Carolina Stingrays/Adirondack Thunder/Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- Matt Rupert (5-8, 175, London, Ont.). Age: 23. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
- Ryan Rupert (5-8, 173, London, Ont.). Age: 23 Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Binghamton Senators (AHL)/Wichita Thunder (ECHL)
- Andrew Schmit (6-5, 220, Grafton, Wis.). Age: 25. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL)
- Chris Williams (6-2, 220, Pottstown, Pa.). Age: 26. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)