The Adelaide Adrenaline have signed big defenseman / forward Caleb Apperson to an import contract for the 2018 season.
Apperson, from Kitchener in Ontario, Canada, is a versatile player who can play both forward and defense.
He played much of his junior career as a forward before his coaches asked him to play some defense while with Laurentian University in U-Sports in Canada - the same level of competition past league imports like Cam Critchlow, Casey Babineau, Gabriel O'Connor, Cole MacMillan, Dominic Jalbert and Max Parent came from.
"I have a unique style to my game," says Apperson. "I'm all over the ice. I love to be involved in both ends of the rink. I'm a good passer and love getting my teammates involved."
Apperson will be expected to help lead a young Adrenaline team. He was the captain of Laurrentian in his final year where he put up 10 points in 18 games from the blue-line in a generally low-scoring league.
His excellent defensive play earned him a contract with the Birmingham Bulls in the Southern Professional Hockey League where he plays with former Newcastle import Josh Harris. He also plays against Perth Thunder imports Jessyko Bernard and Peter Di Salvo.
"I've talked to a few guys that have played here and loved every minute of their time in the AIHL. They said it was a great experience," he says.
He has made an immediate impact with the Bulls in his month there since graduating university. Apperson has helped lead the Bulls to six wins of their past seven games. The Bulls were well out of a playoff spot before his arrival and now sit in a tie for the final playoff spot. Apperson had a booming game winning point shot in one of the games.
"It's been great in the SPHL," he says. "You definitely notice that the skill level is way higher but it's been great."
Head coach Sami Mantere says he is looking forward to Apperson coming down under. He will join the team right after the Bulls season ends.
"He's going to be a very useful player for us. Right now he is slotted in as a defenseman to play with the best young d-core in the country in Geyer, Boyle and Stringer, but if things go well we can move him up to play forward," he says. "The versatility is huge."
Mantere adds that Apperson's immense size is going to play a big role in a smaller rink like Adelaide.
Apperson has many career highlights including playing with NHL superstar Mark Scheifele while with the Kitchener Dutchman in junior hockey. When asked about a moment in his hockey career that really sticks out in his mind, all signs point to Adelaide.
"Having this opportunity to move and play in Australia is something I will never forget. I can't wait to get there and learn about Australian culture and meet Aussie people," he says.
Caleb will join the team as soon as the Bulls' season ends. Our season starts April 21 in Melbourne.
QUICK SHOTS Favourite NHL Team: Toronto Maple Leafs Favourite hockey player: Jamie Benn and Drew Doughty Favourite Sport Outside of hockey: Lacrosse Favourite Athlete (non hockey): Lebron James Favourite PreGame Meal: Chicken Alfredo Most listened to Song on the Ipod: Shapeless Art - The Glorious Sons Phone App you can't live without: Spotify If I weren't playing hockey, I'd be playing: Lacrosse.
What should we know about your hometown: I was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario. Kitchener has a team in OHL called the Rangers who I grew up watching. Fun fact about Kitchener; second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world behind Berlin.
Favourite thing about hockey: I just love being out on the ice and he friends you make along the way.