Oilers Bring Back Steffes, Sign Elite College Prospect

TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Oilers have signed forwards Gary Steffes and Jeremiah Ketts for the upcoming 2012-13 Central Hockey League season.  Steffes is entering his third season in Tulsa and Ketts is a rookie out of Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island.

Last season, the 25-year old Steffes scored 22 goals and tallied 30 assists, a nine point improvement from 2010-11 when he was named to the CHL All-Rookie Team.  Over the last two seasons, Steffes has appeared in every single game for the Oilers.  The 6’2” 205-pound center spent most of the 2011-12 campaign anchoring Tulsa’s second line and recorded 12 multiple-point games.

“Tulsa’s been awesome for me, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to come back for another year,” Steffes said.  “I really respect the Oilers organization, I love playing for Rammer (Head Coach Bruce Ramsay), and it’s really helped me to grow as a player.”

“Gary is one of those guys who can do everything,” said Ramsay.  “He can score goals for us, he can win faceoffs, he’s big and strong in the corners, and he’s just a fantastic teammate.  He takes such good care of himself and I can always count on him night in and night out because I know exactly what I’m going to get when he steps on the ice.”

Steffes, a native of Grand Blanc, Michigan, shares a similar sentiment with many of his returning teammates.  Narrowly missing the playoffs last season has created an extra measure of resolve for this year’s squad.

“I think when you go through something like last year, it makes you want to take advantage of every moment and not take any games for granted,” said Steffes.  “I would love to be a part of a culture here that’s passionate about going to the playoffs and be a part of team that absolutely battles every night.”

Ketts, a 5’8” 188-pound forward, comes to the Oilers fresh off a highly decorated collegiate career.  In each of the last two seasons, the Foristell, Missouri product led Division III in points and was named an All-American.  A two-time ECAC Northeast Player of Year, the 24-year old Ketts scored 165 points in 104 career games at Johnson & Wales University.  He capped off his senior season with the Wildcats by winning the prestigious Joe Concannon Award, presented annually to the top American-born hockey player in New England at the Division II or III level.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to start my career than in Tulsa,” said Ketts.  “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to prove myself and to play in a top notch facility like the BOK Center.  I know the Oilers had some great rookies last season, and with a few of those guys leaving, I hope I can come in and fill a role.  From what I’ve heard there’s a great mix of veterans and young guys on the team so I’m excited to get this season started.”

“Jeremiah has huge potential and I think he can definitely be one of the best rookies we’ve had here recently,” remarked Ramsay.  “I have no doubts about his offensive capabilities, I love his work ethic, and I think he can be a key cog in our team this season.”

Last spring, Ketts signed an amateur contract for the Reading Royals of the ECHL and suited up for two regular season games.  Ketts knows that experience will serve him well when he arrives at Oilers training camp.

“Getting those couple of games under my belt was huge mostly because I got to practice a lot,” Ketts said.  “I got a good gauge of the speed of the game at that level and how hard guys work on and off the ice.  I learned a lot and tried to soak it all up as much as I could.

Ketts is the fifth rookie forward signed by Ramsay during this off season.  Oilers training camp begins Monday, October 8th.

The Oilers home opener is set for Friday, October 26th and season tickets are on sale now.  To reserve your seats or receive more information, call the Oilers office at 918-632-7825.

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