The King Fish, Berschbah, returning to Toledo’s pond

The Toledo Walleye All-Time leader in points, assists and games played Shane Berschbach has agreed to terms for the 2019-2020 season.
        Berschbach, a native of Clawson, Michigan, is coming off another outstanding season in which he produced a team leading 63 points (20G, 43A). He added in another 21 points (9G, 12A) during the Walleye run to the Kelly Cup Finals. The 28-year-old passed Toledo Hockey Hall of Famer Kyle Rogers this past season when appearing in his 320th game as a Walleye. In five years, Berschbach has posted at least 50 points in every season with Toledo.
        “Shane has been a linchpin to our success going back to 2014,” said Coach Dan Watson. “We are excited to have him return for his 6th season in a Walleye uniform. His playmaking ability and leadership will be counted on again to help his teammates get better, while leading us back to the finals.”
        Heading into this season Berschbach is also the Walleye All-Time leader in points (330) and also holds the top spot in assists (234). His 96 career goals ranks second on the Walleye all-time list behind only Evan Rankin (111). Only Toledo Hockey Hall of Famer Rick Judson (244) has produced more assists and points (441) in a Toledo ECHL uniform than Berschbach. He also ranks third behind only Judson (455) and Rob Thorpe (364) in career ECHL games played for Toledo.
        Berschbach is a two-time winner of the ECHL Sportsmanship Award (2015-2017) while also being named to the ECHL First Team in the 2015-2016 season and Second Team in the 2016-2017 campaign.
        Prior to joining Toledo, Berschbach spent four years at Western Michigan University while appearing in 146 games. He collected 117 points (39G, 78A) while playing as a plus 27 for the Broncos. Berschbach was part of the Western Michigan team that won the CCHA championship in 2012.
Defenseman Mike Moffat returns to the Toledo Walleye for the 2019-20 season as one of four signees.
Moffat, a native of Waterloo, Ontario, joined Toledo on March 1 for his pro debut playing in 10 games while collecting four assists. Since 2014, the 26-year-old defenseman has appeared in a total of 128 games with the University of Waterloo accruing 25 goals, 63 assists and 89 penalty minutes. Moffat posted a college best 10 goals in the 2015-16 season when he also set a high in assists with 17 and points (27).
“We really liked Mike’s game from what we saw late in the year,” said Watson. “He fits right in with the style we want to play.”
Prior to his colligate days, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound defenseman spent four years in the Ontario Hockey League between London and Kingston. Moffat posted 120 points (17G, 103A) with 225 penalty minutes in 238 career games.
Blackhawks defenseman joins Walleye ranks
Defenseman Blake Hillman will join the team as well. Hillman was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 draft (No. 173 overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks out of the University of Denver.
The Elk River, Minnesota native made his pro debut by skating in four games for the Blackhawks at the end of the 2017-18 season that saw him collect his first pro goal on April 4, 2018 at St. Louis. Hillman spent all of last season with Rockford in the AHL appearing in 54 games with four points (1G, 3A) and 20 penalty minutes for the IceHogs.
“Blake is a top end defenseman with championship experience,” said Watson. “He has the ability to contribute on both ends of the ice and we are looking forward to seeing him in a Walleye uniform.”
In his three years at the University of Denver, the 23-year-old skated in 123 games with seven goals, 24 assists and 84 penalty minutes. In total he was a plus 24 for the Pioneers. Hillman’s best college year came in the 2017-18 season when in 41 games he posted 12 points (3G, 9A) with 52 penalty minutes while skating as a plus six. He helped lead the Pioneers to the 2017 Frozen Four Championship as a sophomore when Denver defeated Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in the championship contest.
Hillman collected the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA West Regional in 2016 when he picked up four points (2G, 2A) in two games that included a game-winning goal over Ferris State.
Forward Brett Boeing and defenseman Connor Schmidt have agreed to terms with the Walleye for the 2019-20 season.
Schmidt joined the Walleye during last season (signed on December 26, 2018) after appearing in 16 games for Huntsville in the SPHL where he scored nine goals with four assists and 38 penalty minutes. With Toledo, the 25-year-old skated in 27 games for the Walleye with a pair of goals plus a pair of assists to go along with 38 penalty minutes. He also played as a plus six for Toledo. Prior to his pro career, Schmidt spent four years in college with two years at Ferris State while one each at Arizona State and Utica. In 83 colligate games, he scored five goals with 17 assists and 120 penalty minutes.
“We saw what Connor can do during his time with us last season and we can see the growth and potential he has,” said Watson. “Brett is coming off of a career best season in college and should be a nice player up front for the Walleye.”
Boeing joins Toledo after completing his college career at UMass-Amherst that included career highs with 41 games played this past season, 10 goals and nine assists while playing as a plus 12. His efforts helped the Minutemen to the Hockey East Regular Season Championships. The 5-8, 187 pound forward started his college days playing one season at Michigan Tech in 2015-16. In total, he appeared in 101 college games with 37 points (14G, 23A) and 52 penalty minutes.
Forward Justin Buzzeo has agreed to terms with the Walleye. Buzzeo has spent the past two seasons in Europe including appearing in a total of 43 games this past season with 12 goals and 21 assists. The Windsor, Ontario native last played in the ECHL in the 2016-17 season when he split the year between Atlanta and Orlando. That season Buzzeo posted career highs scoring 19 goals with 44 assists in 69 games played. In 139 career ECHL games played he has 31 goals, 63 assists with 66 penalty minutes.
“Justin is a tremendous hockey player,” said Watson. “He has parlayed a strong college career into a terrific professional one that will make him a great asset for us.”
The 5-11, 174-pound forward spent four years (2011-2015) at Ferris State University prior to turning professional. Buzzeo posted 68 points (29G, 39A) in 122 career game for the Bulldogs. His 32 points (14G, 18A) in 2013-14 tied for the team lead over 42 games. Twice Buzzeo landed on the WCHA All-Academic Team from 2013-2015.
Defenseman Mark Auk will also join the Walleye for the 2019-20 season. Auk, the native of Grosse Point Park, Michigan, has one year of professional hockey under his belt after spending this past season with Lukko Rauma in Finland.
The 24-year-old appeared in 47 games with one goal and nine assists with 12 penalty minutes. Prior to turning professional, Auk spent four years at Michigan Tech, skating in 150 games with 21 goals, 63 assists, 49 penalty minutes while playing as a plus 54.
“Mark brings one year of experience with him from the top Finnish League,” said Watson. “He had a great college career and we look forward to helping his development in Toledo.”
As a senior in the 2017-18 season, Auk set career bests with nine goals and 22 assists. The 6-0, 194-pound defenseman was a plus player in all four years for the Huskies and was part of the 2015-16 WCHA regular season championship team.
The defending Western Conference Champion Toledo Walleye return to the Huntington Center on Saturday, November 2, for their 2019-20 home opening weekend. Last season Toledo sold-out 31 of 36 regular season games averaging more than 7,700 fans per game.  Game Plans are on sale now.  Call 419-725-9255 or online at  #OurFishOurFight


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