Winnipeg’s Jack Rodewald will have another new home for the 2021-22 hockey season. Following a year in which he packed his bags and travelled overseas to Europe, the 27-year-old is on the move once again.
After suiting up for HC Ocelari Trinec in the highest level of professional hockey in Czech Republic, Rodewald has landed a contract with TPS Turku within Finland’s 15-team Liiga.
“I am really excited for the opportunity in Turku,” Rodewald told Game On. “It’s a city with a lot of history and the team is a storied franchise of the Liiga. They have a young team and I’ve heard many great things about the organization. They are coming off a finals appearance with a lot of promise for next year.”
Tervetuloa, Big Jack!🧨
— HC TPS (@HCTPS) June 23, 2021
Rodewald joined Trinec midway through the 2020-21 campaign and made an immediate impact. He performed well in the regular season, before serving as a force in the playoffs. He scored the opening goal of the decisive Game 5 of the Czech League’s final series before adding an assist on the empty-netter late in the game. In doing so, he helped his teammates collect a first place postseason finish over the Bili Tygri Liberec in the fifth game of the championship final.
“It was a tough decision not returning to Trinec, as they are a great organization and we won a championship, which is something that I’ll always cherish,” Rodewald said. “I learned a lot in Trinec about the European style of hockey and using the larger ice surface. I learned how to become comfortable in a place far away from home and find success in situations where English isn’t the first language.”
Rodewald put up five goals and 15 points in 22 regular season games for Trinec, before collecting six goals and nine points in 16 playoff matches. He also displayed his good old-fashioned Manitoban grit, often throwing heavy checks while not backing down from fights, despite still familiarizing himself with a brand new continent.
“I didn’t know anything about the Czech Republic before I went, so I was able to experience a new country,” he said on his travels to Europe. “However, everything has been locked down since I got here because of COVID, so I was unable to get the full experience that I would have had during a regular year. It would have been cool to travel around a bit more and see more cities but I enjoyed it regardless.”
The Manitoban forward previously spent the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons between the Ottawa and Belleville Senators, before being dealt to the Florida Panthers organization for the start of the 2019-20 season. Rodewald, however, only suited up in the minor leagues for the Springfield Thunderbirds, where he collected five goals, 16 points and 21 penalty minutes in 43 games the previous season.
Now as a member of Finland’s top league, Rodewald will look to help Turku continue with the success it has found in the southwestern-most point of Finland. His new club finished third and lost in the championship game last season, while finishing within the league’s top-five teams in four of the past five seasons.