O’Keefe, 29, first joined the Wranglers in 2011-12, going 10-9-2 with a 2.74 goals-against average (GAA) and 0.903 save percentage. On the way to the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound netminder started the playoffs with a 5-0-0 record, which included a 2-0 shutout of the Utah Grizzlies. Returning to Vegas last season, O’Keefe posted a 7-9-0 record, 2.90 GAA, and 0.902 save percentage.
“Mitch is just a great player to have on any team, and he’s a leader by example,” said Wranglers Head Coach and General Manager Mike Madill. “The way he carries himself on and off the ice is something I want young guys to learn from. He treats every person around him with respect, and sticks with teammates through thick and thin. He’s a big goalie who plays with emotion every night, and I know he and Travis [Fullerton] will be a top pair in the ECHL.”Originally from Almonte, Ontario, O’Keefe spent three years (2005-08) at Ferris State University, tallying a 31-39-15 career record. He was named the team’s Rookie of the Year after the 2005-06 season, and appeared in two American Hockey League games for the Iowa Stars at the end of college. Since then, O’Keefe has earned ECHL Goaltender of the Week honors with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals in 2008-09, and played in six games with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators that same season. He also won a Slovenian championship with HK Jesenice in 2010-11.
“I’m very excited to be a Wrangler again for the upcoming season,” said O’Keefe. “My family and I are very happy in Las Vegas, and we have a great core group of players eager to win and hungry for a championship. I’m also excited to play under Coach Madill. He was an amazing player and leader, and no doubt will be a great coach. I’ve had a very productive summer and have never been this excited for a season to start.”
The Wranglers open their eleventh season of hockey in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:05 p.m. against the Utah Grizzlies.