BOISE, Idaho – Forward Joe Basaraba has agreed to terms with the Idaho Steelheads for the 2019-20 season, joining the organization for his third season in the Treasure Valley and sixth full professional year, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced Thursday.
“Boise has become a second home of mine,” said Basaraba. “I spend time in the summer here. I know what the city offers. I’ve been around the team and the organization before; I know their values, and it’s a winning organization. I’m excited to get back, and I think we have a heck of a team.”
Basaraba, 27, spent the 2018-19 season with the Fife Flyers in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), posting 22 goals and 23 assists for 45 points with three power play goals and two shorthanded goals. The Fort Frances, Ont. native played most recently with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits during the 2017-18 season, tallying 47 points (18g, 29a) through 71 games following two seasons with the Steelheads. Over parts of five seasons in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho and Greenville, Basaraba has tallied 65 goals and 91 assists for 156 points through 239 games with 12 power play goals and one shorthanded goal. He also appeared in 22 AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage in 2014-15.
In two seasons with the Steelheads from 2015-17, the 6-foor-3, 194-pound forward put together two 30-plus point seasons including a 46 points (21g, 25a) in 2016-17 and setting an ECHL career-high goal total while playing all 72 games. During his tenure, Basaraba totaled 33 goals and 45 assists for 78 points with seven power play goals and his lone shorthanded goal. Even with a year overseas under his belt, he notes that consistency still breeds success when playing in North America and at this level.
“It’s a big ice over there. You’re asked to play a little bit of a different style of game. It’s very fast and highly-skilled. Coming back here, nothing changes. You’ve still got to play your game, find what makes you successful and keep doing that.”
“We’re excited to have Joe back here in Boise for a second stint,” said Sheen. “He is very familiar with our organization after spending two previous seasons with the Steelheads. We’re looking for him to provide a veteran leadership presence and an offensive spark to our forward core.”
Prior to his professional career, Basaraba played four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, amassing 28 goals and 28 assists for 56 points through 148 collegiate games while helping the program earn the 2011 NCAA Championship. He also served as Team Captain during his senior season in 2013-14 while putting up a collegiate-high 18 points (8g, 10a) in 35 games. He was selected 69th overall (3rd Round) by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Draft out of Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep.
Basaraba is the 12th forward to be announced this summer as well as the 12th former skater to return to the organization. The Steelheads have announced 18 skaters ahead of 2019 Training Camp.
Forwards (12): Zack Andrusiak (rookie), Joe Basaraba, Conner Bleackley, Max Coatta (rookie), Freddy Gerard (rookie), Matt Lippa (rookie), Will Merchant, Mitch Moroz (Asst. Captain), Spencer Naas, Marc-Olivier Roy, Kyle Schempp, A.J. White (Captain)
Defense (6): Nolan Gluchowski, Keegan Kanzig (Asst. Captain), Jeff King, Brady Norrish, Colton Saucerman, Eric Sweetman
“[Boise] is clean, there’s a lot to do, and it’s growing by the second,” said Basaraba. “I’ve got friends here that will be lifelong friends. As far as the organization goes, I’ve had two great coaches in Neil Graham and now Everett Sheen. The organization prepares its players not only for success in this league but also moving forward in their careers.
“My heart wanted to be in Boise. The fans are second-to-none. It’s a great place to play, and it’s an exciting place to play.”
The Steelheads open the 2019-20 home schedule at CenturyLink Arena on Friday, Oct. 18 against the Wichita Thunder to kick of Home Opening Weekend.
Season tickets and flex plans for the 2019-20 season are now available! Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for next season. Stay connected to the Steelheads throughout the summer on idahosteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.