Seasoned Forward Brings Scoring Touch Back to Jackals
The Elmira Jackals, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and AHL's Rochester Americans, announced today the team has signed forward Mike Radja to a Standard Player Contract for the 2016-17 season.
Radja, 31, returns to Elmira following a four-year stint overseas. The 6-foot-1 185-pound forward spent last season with the Belfast Giants in the EIHL. He led the team with 30 goals and finished at a point-per-game rate with 54 points while earning the honor as the team's Best Forward. Radja spent the previous three seasons in the Asia League between the Nippon Paper Cranes and Gangwon High1 recording 160 points (72 goals, 88 assists) and a +70 plus/minus in 107 games. He helped the Paper Cranes win the 2013-14 Asia League Championship and was named to the Asia League First Team while playing for current Jackals head coach Dave Leger.
"I am very excited to continue my career back in Elmira," said Radja. "I am looking forward to working with and learning from Dave [Leger] as an assistant to him. Dave [Leger] and Jared [Abbott] have made the decision for me and my wife to return to Elmira an easy one. I cannot wait to get back in a Jackals sweater come October."
Prior to his tenure in the Asia League, Radja put up prolific numbers for the Jackals during the 2011-12 campaign. While serving as an alternative captain, he scored 31 goals and finished with 52 points in 46 games. Radja led the team in goals and propelled the Jackals to a first place finish in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. The team MVP added eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 Kelly Cup playoff games. Radja's other ECHL stint came in 2008-09 when he posted 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in eight games with the Fresno Falcons.
In addition to his time with Elmira during the 2011-12 season, Radja appeared in 23 AHL games between the Houston Aeros, Peoria Rivermen and the Binghamton Senators logging seven points (two goals, five assists). In total, Radja has skated in 130 AHL games between Houston, Peoria, Binghamton, Bridgeport, Syracuse and Rockford totaling 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) and a +11 plus/minus. He also appeared in six Calder Cup playoff games posting one assist.
Aside from his North American career, Radja spent time in the DEL, the top German league, and the Liiga, which is the top Finnish league. He added 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 49 games for the Augsburger Panther of the DEL and posted nine points (six goals, three assists) in 25 games for TPS of the Liiga.
Prior to turning pro, Radja appeared in 149 NCAA games over four years at the University of New Hampshire. He notched 117 points (54 goals, 63 assists) and a +30 plus/minus while earning NCAA First Team All-American and NCAA Hockey East First Team All-Star accolades as a senior.
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