The James Melbourne Mustangs are pleased to announce the signing of American goaltender James Kruger (191 cm, 93kg) for the remainder of the 2017 AIHL season. James will be wearing #41 for the Mustangs.
The 25 year old played four years in the NCAA for Dartmouth College before turning pro in the 2016-17 season. Throughout the season Kruger was contracted by SPHL teams the Fayetteville Fireantz, the Pensacola Ice Flyers and the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, playing a total of 20 games.
Head coach Michael Flaherty explains "It was a tough decision for our club but it’s the right decision. Adding James to our roster will help create stronger competition for spots in our team. We also believe he can help lift the standard of our Aussie goalies and improve their skills. We are excited by what he brings to the table."
Mustangs president John Belic adds, "We are extremely pleased to have been able to secure the services of James. From all reports he is not only an outstanding net minder but a quality individual which is also very important to the club. Not only will he be an imposing figure between the pipes but having spent four years at a highly regarded Division 1 college will no doubt have a wealth of knowledge to pass onto our local players."
Defenceman Matt Beattie is no stranger to Kruger's game. "My Yale team played Dartmouth many times in my four years at school. Every game was well contested and incredibly competitive. Most of our games ended in low scoring, tight fashion and I know that James played a big part in making sure that his team had a chance to win every night."
We asked James what he's looking forward to as a Mustang and what he'll bring to the team "I'm a big believer in new experiences. The chance to live in another country while playing the game I love was too good to pass up. I'm looking forward most to joining the team and Mustangs community and competing. Also looking forward to traveling around Australia a bit and seeing some new places! On the ice I think I'll bring a calming net presence, a competitive edge, and some big saves to the Mustangs."
James will be making his Mustangs debut against Newcastle on June 10th before taking on former Dawgs team mate Jackson Brewer and his Sydney Bears on June 11.