Goaltender Corbin Kaczperski agrees to terms with Iowa Heartlanders

As a rookie, Kaczperski recorded a 2.69 goals against average and a 10-8-2 record with the Heartlanders in 2021-22.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa goalie Corbin Kaczperski blocks a puck during a hockey match between Iowa and Wheeling at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. The Nailers defeated the Heartlanders, 6-4.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

After an impressive rookie campaign, goaltender Corbin Kaczperski has agreed to terms with the Iowa Heartlanders for the 2022-23 season, the franchise announced Tuesday.

The netminder was rostered across six different clubs throughout three different leagues in 2021-22 but played 21 of his 34 total games last year with the Heatlanders. While suiting up for Iowa, Kaczperski led the franchise with a .921 saves percentage and 2.69 goals against average while compiling a 10-8-2 record. He recorded the first shutout in Heartlanders history on March 25 against the Cincinnati Cyclones.

Kaczperski, who noted he loved his time at Xtream Arena, said Heartlanders head coach Derek Damon reached out to him because the franchise wanted him to return. It didn’t take too long for Kaczperski to decide.

“I was very excited when I got the offer to come back and re-sign, and I‘m very excited to come,” Kaczperski said.

Though signing an ECHL contract doesn’t guarantee Kaczperski will stay with the Heartlanders through the entirety of 2022-23, it suggests he won’t move around like he did last season. In 2021-22, after failing to stick with an ECHL team during training camp, the former Yale and Denver player found a spot with the Vermilion County Bobcats of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).

RELATED: Heartlanders goaltender Corbin Kaczperski’s whirlwind professional season

The goaltender from China Township, Michigan, allowed 5.09 goals per contest in nine games with the Bobcats. While he was in the SPHL, Kaczperski was loaned to the ECHL’s Worcester Railers and AHL’s Utica Comets but didn’t step on the ice while he was with them.

Toward the end of December, the Heartlanders picked up the Michigander.  While in Coralville, Kaczperski was called up twice to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, where he saw playing time in four affairs and went 1-2-0.

Following the conclusion of the Heartlanders’ inaugural season, the AHL’s Rochester Americans signed the 26-year-old to a professional tryout contract. He stayed with the Americans until they bowed out of the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs during the division finals, though Kaczperski didn’t compete in a contest for them.

In the offseason, the left-handed catcher is living in Sterling Heights, Michigan. He’s been participating in private sessions with his goaltender coach but is also training with University of Michigan assistant coach Brandon Naurato in what he described as a shooter tutor for professional players.

“It’s good for me to go out there, read the releases of all those guys, and just see all those shots throughout the summer just so I’m getting what skills those guys have, getting those kinds of shots,” Kaczperski said. “So, just doing that twice a week right now. I’m alternating between two to three times a week skating, and then I’m working out three to five times a week, depending on how the body feels.”

Kaczperski said he will start skating more around mid-August and continue that until training camp begins in October. As he did during last season, Kaczperski is paying attention to footwork and his depth.

The goaltender is also working on posture because he said he demonstrates a high stance, which means sometimes he puts up his glove too high. So, Kaczperski is attempting to become more balanced with his hands even.

With the Heartlanders returning players who were rookies last season, Kaczperski is excited to join a more veteran squad that has shown a promising culture.

“We know the league,” Kaczperski said. “We know the travel schedule. I’ll speak for myself. It’s just learning how to take care of yourself throughout the season and learning all those things that go into a pro hockey season. That experience is huge, and I think that’s going to translate on the ice to a lot more wins.”

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