April 7, 2016

By Dan Colleran

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Former University of Notre defenseman Robbie Russo was named to the American Hockey League’s All-Rookie Team the league announced on April 6.

The All-Rookie team was as voted on by the league’s coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.

Russo, who is playing his first professional season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, has scored five goals and added 34 assists for 39 points in 65 games. He leads the AHL with a +47 plus/minus rating. Russo and Grand Rapids are currently in second place in the Central Division.

A 2015 Notre Dame graduate, Russo earned First Team Hockey East All-Star and Second Team All-American (East) honors following the 2014-15 season. In 40 games as a senior, he scored 15 goals and added 26 assists for 41 points, ranking second on the team in all three categories. His 15 goals tied for the national lead among defensemen and his 41 points ranked second nationally among blue liners.

Russo became the fifth Irish defenseman to earn All-America honors, joining Bill Nyrop (1973), Jack Brownschidle (19776 and 1977), Benoit Cotnoir (1999) and current Pittsburgh Penguin Ian Cole (2009). He was awarded a captain’s “C” on Feb. 12 in recognition for his diligent work and leadership. On Jan. 18 at UConn, he notched the only hat trick in the nation by a defenseman in 2014-15 when he scored three times in a 6-1 Irish victory over the Huskies. It marked the first hat trick by a Notre Dame defenseman since Feb. 20, 1988 when Frank O’Brien scored three times against Lake Forest, before the Irish became a full-fledged Division I program.

In 142 career games with Notre Dame, Russo scored 28 goals and added 66 assists for 94 points. He was a leader on the Notre Dame power play and finished his career with 14 power-play goals. He also added three shorthanded goals and five game winners.

Russo was a fourth round selection (95th overall) by the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to the 2015-16 season, he signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Detroit Red Wings (NHL) organization.

2015-16 AHL All-Rookie Team
Goaltender – Juuse Saros, Milwaukee Admirals
Defenseman – Brandon Montour, San Diego Gulls
Defenseman – Robbie Russo, Grand Rapids Griffins
Forward – Austin Czarnik, Providence Bruins
Forward – Mikko Rantanen, San Antonio Rampage
Forward – Frank Vatrano, Providence Bruins

— ND —

Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and men’s golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).