DUBUQUE, IA–One of junior hockey’s top goaltenders is coming to Dubuque. The Dubuque Fighting Saints announced today that they have obtained veteran goaltender Hunter Miska, and that the Minnesota native will play for Dubuque for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Miska, a former member of Team USA, is coming off a sensational championship season with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League where he was named the league’s top goaltender.
"We are thrilled to announce the addition of Hunter Miska," said Jason Lammers, Head Coach and General Manager of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. "The most exciting thing about Hunter is his work ethic and his ability to be not just a guy that plays hockey, but a guy that is a big-time hockey player. His work ethic and abilities are elite, and that will rub off on his teammates. He will help our team, and between him and his goaltending partner, they will make each other better."
Dubuque acquired Miska, a 1995-born netminder who stands at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, from the Fargo Force for a 2016 Phase One 6th Round Draft pick and a 2016 Phase Two 5th Round Draft pick. The Force owned Miska’s rights after previously adding him as a free agent. With the trade, Miska will now join Dubuque this year before advancing to play NCAA Hockey at Minnesota-Duluth.
“I think Dubuque is a great fit, and will really help my development in preparing for college hockey," said Miska. "It's a great organization that has always had strong teams. I know I will be part of a successful team, and help be the backbone of that team, as we push to win a Clark Cup Championship. I loved my time in Penticton, but I was up for a new challenge to push me to be ready to go to college and be a number one goalie at Minnesota-Duluth."
The highly decorated goaltender will join the Fighting Saints after a sensational two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. In 2014-2015, Miska went 34-9-3 in 46 appearances, posting a 1.88 goals against average and .923 save percentage, both league bests. He registered five shutouts and was awarded the BCHL’s Top Goaltender Trophy. He and goaltender partner Brendan Barry shared the BCHL’s Wally Forslund Memorial Trophy as the league’s top goaltending duo. This was the second straight year Miska captured the award, sharing the honor with Oliver Mantha in 2014. He was named the Vees team MVP was a BCHL First Team All-Star.
Miska’s success continued into the postseason as he helped lead the Vees to a Fred Page Cup Championship. Miska went 15-6 in the playoffs with a 2.28 goals against average and a .923 save percentage to lead the Vees to the postseason title.
Last season, Miska helped the Vees to another championship win at Western Canada Cup tournament. He was named tournament’s most valuable player and the top goaltender. He allowed just 10 goals in five games and posted one shutout.
He was also strong for the Vees at the RBC Cup, which is held annually to determine the Canadian Junior A National Champion. The Vees fell in the semifinals, but Miska posted a 3-2 record with a 1.85 goals against average and .922 save percentage with one shutout.
In Miska’s first season in Penticton in 2013-2014, the netminder went 19-11-2 in 34 games. His goals against average checked in at 2.26 and he posted a .915 save percentage. He was a BCHL Second Team All-Star.
No stranger to the USHL, Miska skated for Team USA from 2011-2013, appearing in 38 USHL games for the National Team Development Program, going 13-20-2. He played two games for Team USA against Dubuque in the 2012 Clark Cup Playoffs. He also recorded one of the more notable goaltending efforts at the Mystique Community Ice Center in recent years, stopping 47 shots against the eventual Clark Cup Champion Fighting Saints in a 4-3 loss on March 23, 2013.
Miska and the Fighting Saints coaching staff both believe that the goaltender will only continue to improve during his time in Dubuque and that Matt Millar, the club’s Goalie Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, will play a large part.
“I believe Matt Millar is one of the best young goalie mentors in North America,” said Lammers. “I’m excited to watch him work with Hunter and our group.”
“The ability to have a full-time goalie coach will be great and help take me to next level,” Miska said. “Matt Millar is going to make a great impact on my career and I’m excited to work with new Head Coach Jason Lammers and Oliver David."
Miska, who played in the 2012 All-American Prospects Game, comes from a hockey family. His father, Todd, runs Miska Designs, and has painted goalie masks for some of the world’s best goalies, including NHL greats Ed Belfour, Miikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov.
Miska and the Fighting Saints open the 2015-2016 season presented by American Trust with preseason action against Cedar Rapids on September 4. A complete schedule is available at DubuqueFightingSaints.com. Group tickets, Party Zones and Party Suites are now available to book by calling 563.583.6880.