The Checkers are bringing some veteran leadership back into the fold for next season, signing Zack Stortini to a one-year AHL contract.
The 32-year-old forward only appeared in 23 games last season but ranked third on the team with 71 penalty minutes and tallied one goal along the way. Stortini’s biggest asset to the team, however, was his leadership, with the coaching staff lauding the ways he helped the younger corps of players.
“His character and his leadership is awesome,” said head coach Mike Vellucci during the season. “I’ve talked about putting him on the bench as an assistant coach because he’s so good on the bench with his teammates.”
In his exit interview at the end of the season, Stortini made his desire to return known.
“Mike’s such a great coach and a great guy, I love playing for him,” said Stortini. “I would love to come back here if they’re willing to have me back. I love playing for the Checkers, it’s a fantastic organization and if I have the opportunity to come back I’m definitely going to be here.”
Stortini got his opportunity and will join a Checkers team next year that will again feature an abundance of young prospects.
Heading into his 14th pro season, Strotini brings with him a ton of experience. In the AHL, the Ontario native has logged 109 points (55g, 54a) and 1,776 penalty minutes in 579 games with Toronto, Iowa, Milwaukee, Hamilton, Springfield, Oklahoma City, Norfolk, Lehigh Valley, Binghamton, San Jose and Charlotte. In the NHL Stortini has notched 41 points (14g, 27a) and 725 penalty minutes in 257 games with Edmonton and Nashville.