Saskatoon, SK – The Saskatoon Blades are pleased to announce 19-year-old defenseman, Mark Rubinchik, has signed a two year, two-way contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL.
Rubinchik spent the last two seasons in Saskatoon on the Blades’ blue line where he appeared in 130 regular season contests. During his tenure, the import d-man collected 4 goals and 46 points to go along with 131 penalty minutes. Rubinchik was a fan favourite known for his punishing open-ice body checks that earned him the 2017-18 Blades’ Hardest Hitter Award.
While Rubinchik says he will miss Saskatoon, he’s excited at the opportunity ahead of him to play professionally in his home country.
“It’s surreal, for sure. You grow up watching the guys play at the highest level and you see how the arenas fill with people to watch players do what they love. I used to think ‘I want to be like them’. The KHL is a great league– arguably the second best in the world,” said Rubinchik. “Of course, being close to family and friends is a bonus as well. I just want to establish myself as an impact player early on in my career and I hope that Salavat Yulaev gives me that opportunity.”
Rubinchik was quick to express gratitude for his friends, fans, teammates, and staff in Saskatoon.
“I want to thank the fans and the whole Saskatoon Blades organization for the support they have given me. These last two years flew by because of how much fun I had. I wish the boys all the best; they were always so kind to me and helped me out when I needed it most. Being so far away from home can be challenging, but everyone in Saskatoon made sure I felt safe and superb,” explained Rubinchik. “I’m very proud to call every staff member and player my friend, thank you!”
Thank you @BladesHockey for 2 unforgettable seasons!Top end organization that gave me everything I needed! I wanna thank all of the coaches and the staff, who really became my friends through out this journey. And to the fans, you guys made playing in Saskatoon joyful. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/yuIaQQf4EU
“It’s great, we love seeing our players move on to the next level and for Mark to able to do that back home is exciting for both him and his family,” said Blades GM Colin Priestner. “It’s never easy to move across the world when you’re a teenager, but Mark came here focused and really fit in well with our group. He was an important part of our organization both on the ice and in the community, so we’re thankful to have had him for the past two seasons. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward and thank him for his commitment to our club during his time here.”
After completing the WHL Bantam Draft last week, Priestner will now look ahead to the CHL Import Draft where he will look to fill two roster spots. The Blades hold the 22nd and 82nd overall picks.