ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs today announced they have signed defenseman Joni Tuulola to a professional tryout (PTO) agreement.
Tuulola, 22, recently completed his fifth consecutive season in the Finnish Elite League, SM-liiga. The 6-3, 180-lbs blueliner skated in all but one of Vaasan Sport’s 59 games and establish career-high marks with seven goals, 23 assists, 30 points and 59 penalty minutes. He paced all Sport skaters in assists and ranked first among team defenseman in both points and penalty minutes during the 2017-18 season.
Prior to signing with Sport last year, the Hämeenlinna, Finland native helped Finland win its second gold medal in three years at the 2016 World Junior Championship. Tuulola tallied one assist while skating to a +5 rating in seven contests during the tournament.
The defensemen originally began his tenure in the Finnish Elite League with a stretch of four straight seasons with HPK Hameenlinna from 2013-16. Tuulola capped that stint by posting a career-best +17 rating and leading HPK to a postseason berth during the 2016-17 campaign, and chipping in one assist and 12 PIMs in 12 playoff games
Overall, Tuulola has combined for 63 points (17g, 63a), 97 PIMs and a +11 plus/minus rating in 199 career games in the Finish Elite League from 2013-18.
He was originally selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the sixth round (181st overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Next Home Game: Saturday, March 24 | Rockford vs. Chicago
The Hogs continue the 2017-18 Illinois Lottery Cup Series with a showdown against the Wolves on Fitness Night. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free dri-fit IceHogs shirt, courtesy of Peak Fitness. In addition, Fans will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the IceHogs players’ fitness routines through several in-game videos on the video board.