After an injury riddled 2016-17, Ontario Hockey League grad Zach Bell signed back with the Idaho Steelheads on December 13, 2017 for the 2017-18 ECHL season. The team is poised for yet another playoff appearance, sitting among the leaders in the Western Conference. The Steelheads have not failed to qualify for the post season since coming into existence for the 1996-97 WCHL season. Bell is joined on the Idaho roster by fellow OHL alumni Connor Chatham and Corey Durocher (no sooner did we publish this and Durocher gets traded by Idaho to the Kansas City Mavericks…).
Zach Bell played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2009-10 to 2013-14 with the Brampton Battalion and London Knights. Brampton drafted Zach in the fourth round of the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, 77th overall. He played his first four years with the Battalion before switching over to London in 2013-14.
That 2013-14 season also happened to be the Battalion’s first in North Bay, Ontario. Bell started the season in the ECHL with the Ontario Reign after signing with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. After being sent back to junior, instead of going to North Bay, he was traded to the Knights for Miles Liberati (now in the ECHL with the Allen Americans).
Over his OHL career, Bell scored 20 goals and assisted on 62 for 82 points in 274 regular season games. In the playoffs, he added five points in 25 games. His stay-at-home style of defense that he honed in the OHL has certainly carried on to his pro hockey career.
He first came to the Steelheads midway through 2015-16 after starting the season with the Orlando Solar Bears. In 2016-17, Bell played in just 32 games with Idaho in a season reduced by injuries. The Steelheads brought him back to the lineup for the remainder of 2017-18, signing him on December 13, 2017.
As of today, Zach has eight goals in 136 career ECHL regular season games. This season, he has appeared in 13 games, scoring a goal and assisting on another.
The Idaho Steelheads franchise came to life in the now defunct WCHL for the 1996-97 season. The team moved to the ECHL for 2003-04 and won the Kelly Cup championship in their first year in the league. They would win the title again in 2006-07. As mentioned, Idaho has qualified for the post season in each year of their existence.
Currently, the team is sitting pretty in 2017-18. After 49 games, they are in second spot in the Mountain Division and fourth in the Western Conference. Home games for the team are played at the 5,000 seat CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho, a venue that opened in 1997.
Connor Chatham and Corey Durocher are two more OHL grads on the Steelheads roster. Connor Chatham played three years in the league from 2013-14 to 2015-16 with the Plymouth Whalers, Flint Firebirds and Windsor Spitfires. Corey Durocher played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2009-10 to 2011-12 with the Kingston Frontenacs and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Zach Bell OHL Stats