MOLINE, Ill. (February 10, 2014) – Goaltender Thomas Heemskerk has returned to the Quad City Mallards from the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat and the Mallards have waived goaltender Nick Niedert, the Mallards announced today.
Heemskerk, 23, last Monday signed a professional tryout agreement with Abbotsford. That call-up was Heemskerk’s fourth to the AHL this season. The third year netminder last month spent 12 days with the Worcester Sharks after joining the Iowa Wild for a pair of stints as a back-up earlier in the campaign. Heemskerk has yet to see any AHL game action this season.
Heemskerk leads the Central Hockey League in goals against average (2.36) and save percentage (.923) and is tied for third in shutouts (2). The 6’ 0”, 210-pound Chilliwack, British Columbia native has suffered just one regulation loss this season, going 10-1-4 in 15 games. Heemskerk is unbeaten in regulation in his last six games, a stretch during which he has posted a 5-0-1 record, a 1.48 goals against average, a .947 save percentage and two shutouts.
Heemskerk played for Worcester in both 2011-12 and 2012-13. Over two games last year with the San Jose Sharks’ top affiliate, Heemskerk turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced in 67 minutes, turning in a 1.79 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. In four games with Worcester in 2011-12, he went 0-1-0 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
Heemskerk spent the bulk of his first two campaigns in the ECHL. Last year he went 14-17-3 with a 3.10 goals against average and a .906 save percentage in 38 games with the San Francisco Bulls. Heemskerk began his professional career in 2011-12 with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder, for whom he posted a record of 13-12-0 along with a 3.27 goals against average and a .893 save percentage in 25 games.
Heemskerk turned pro after four years in the major junior Western Hockey League. In his final WHL season, he finished second in the league in minutes (3,841), third in saves (2041) and fifth in wins (36) while recording a 2.94 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and a pair of shutouts in 65 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors.
The 2010-11 season was the second straight campaign during which Heemskerk landed among the league leaders. In 2009-10, while tending goal for the Everett Silvertips, he topped the Western League in save percentage (.927), finished third in goals against average (2.34) and was tied for seventh in shutouts (4) while going 24-12-4 in 42 games. Heemskerk’s efforts helped the Silvertips earn a share of the United States Division title. Heemskerk joined Everett midway through the 2008-09 season after spending his first year and a half in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice.
Niedert last Friday signed with the Mallards from the Danville Dashers of the Federal Hockey League for the third time this season. The 31-year old made his Mallard debut on January 17 in Wichita, making eight saves and giving up two goals after entering what proved to a 7-1 Mallard loss to the Thunder at the beginning of the third period. Niedert has spent most of the season with the Dashers while also tending goal in one ECHL game for the Utah Grizzlies this year. The. The 5’ 8”, 185-pound native of Hudson, Iowa, has gone 3-10-1 with a 5.25 goals against average and a .869 save percentage in 15 games with Danville.
Niedert played for five teams in four leagues last season- the Gwinnett Gladiators and Reading Royals of the ECHL, the Bloomington Blaze of the CHL, the Augusta RiverHawks of the Southern Professional Hockey League and the Danbury Whalers of the FHL. Over the course of his nine-year career, Niedert has played for 23 teams in nine different leagues after competing for five teams over three seasons of junior hockey. He first wore the Mallards’ colors during the club’s 2011 training camp.
The Mallards next play at home Friday night at 7:05 p.m. against the Rapid City Rush. Friday is another $1 Dog/$1 Beer Night presented by 97X. $1 hot dogs and beers are available at iWireless Center concession stands during each of the Mallards’ 11 Friday night home games this season.
Tickets for Friday night’s game and all Mallards regular season home games can be purchased at the iWireless Center ticket office, Ticketmaster outlets, through ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period.
About the Quad City Mallards
A proud affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild and the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild, the Quad City Mallards are in the midst of their seventeenth season their fourth in the Central Hockey League. One of the winningest teams in all of minor league hockey, the Mallards competed in the United Hockey League from 1995 through 2007 and in the International Hockey League in 2009-10. The Mallards’ proud history has seen them capture the UHL’s Colonial Cup Championship three times (1997, 1998, 2001) and secure that league’s Tarry Cup four times (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002) for the best overall regular season record. In 2001, the Mallards made professional hockey history, recording their sixth consecutive season with 50 or more wins, a feat that has yet to be matched. The iWireless Center provides a unique environment for hockey and features one-of-a-kind seating areas such as the Nest for groups and functions and the exclusive Drake Club. For more information on the Quad City Mallards or for Mallards tickets go to www.myqcmallards.com. Fans can also follow the Mallards via Twitter at twitter.com/myqcmallards and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/quadcitymallards.
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