Two Walleye players with local ties were involved in roster moves on Thursday.
Toledo released defenseman Phil Rauch, a native of Lambertville, Mich., at his request.
Forward Alden Hirschfeld, a Sylvania native, has been promoted to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.
Rauch, a St. Francis de Sales High School graduate, appeared in the second-most games in franchise history. Rauch played in 169 games in three seasons, posting five goals, 19 assists, and 138 penalty minutes.
Rauch, 26, said he is stepping away from hockey to focus on his other job as a project manager. He has worked at Industrial Power Systems, which is based in Rossford, since he was 15.
“It was a very, very tough decision,” Rauch said. “I’ve been playing hockey since I was 4. I loved playing for my hometown team. I will miss that, but it was time to focus on my long-term career.”
Rauch said he has been juggling his hockey career with his job. “I knew it was time,” he said.
Rauch said he believes he could have played for “a couple more years” and hopes to get into coaching.
“I want to thank the Walleye organization, staff, and the fans. It was the best three years of hockey in my life,” he said. “I’ll never forget it.”
Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said Rauch has been a great player and person for the organization.
“We wish Phil all the best going forward,” Vitucci said. “He will be missed.”
The sturdy, stay-at-home defenseman had one assist and was a minus-one in 26 games this season.
Hirschfeld, a Northview graduate, heads back to Grand Rapids, where he had an assist in two games earlier this season. Hirschfeld is tied with Travis Novak for second on the Walleye in scoring this season with 24 points (6 goals, 18 assists).
The Walleye are in the midst of playing five straight road games. Toledo plays today at Cincinnati.
— Mark Monroe