UTAH PUCK REPORT

Grizzlies Sign Former Army Black Knight In Anticipation Of Upcoming Home-Opener

Dec 29, 2020, 1:23 PM | Updated: 1:23 pm

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 10: Kevin Hayes #12 of the Boston College Eagles shoots the puck on Pa...

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 10: Kevin Hayes #12 of the Boston College Eagles shoots the puck on Parker Gahagen #35 of the Army Black Knights during NCAA hockey action at Kelley Rink on Sunday, November 10, 2013 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When several teams in the ECHL opted out of the 2020-2021 season, it left a ton of top-level talent without a place to play – like the Utah Grizzlie’s new goalie, Parker Gahagen.

The remaining teams started to add depth and the Utah Grizzlies firmly set their sights on a “World Class Athlete”.

After jumping through several hoops, the Grizz announced they have finally signed former West Point Black Knight Gahagen for this season and expect him to be in the lineup this weekend.

Gahagen, 27, comes with an impressive resume, including five games with the San Jose Barracudas and two with the Toronto Marlies. As well as 15 games in the ECHL with Newfoundland, where he posted a .939 save percentage.

Gahagen is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated that program as one of the winningest goaltenders in program history, playing in 111 games, posting a 40-49-16 record with a .926 save percentage. He had nominations for both the Hobey Baker and Mike Richter awards.

For the most part, athletes at military academies give up their dream of playing professional sports after college and commit to serve at least 5 years of active duty after graduation. Gahegen is no different. He is a First Lieutenant in the United States Army.

“I was interested in the challenge of West Point, and then when I visited the campus, with all the military and US history, I knew it was where I wanted to go. I mean, it used to be an actual fort,” Gahagen said. “My main focus was to make the program better and to find a way to reach my full potential. Then, my junior year, the team started doing better. My goalie coach told me that I was good enough to play pro, and that was the first time the thought really entered my mind.”

“I think it’s important to have people believe in you, it helped, and we started working on options.”

As the season was supposed to start, Gahagen’s rights were owned by the Newfoundland Growlers, but when they opted out, coach Branham called immediately.

“Parker is an elite goalie in this league. He brings stability and is a great role model with a winning pedigree,” Branham said.

The Utah Grizzlies play Rapid City this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Utah Puck Report is a podcast all about Utah hockey, from interviews with NHL stars to which Grizzlies players are about to take the next step, Utah Puck Report has everything for a Utah hockey fan. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on KSLSports.com. The show is hosted by KSL Sports’ hockey insider, Jay Stevens.

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Grizzlies Sign Former Army Black Knight In Anticipation Of Upcoming Home-Opener