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Utah Grizzlies MVP Michael Pelech will return to the team for next season

Utah Grizzlies' Michael Pelech battles Dyson Stevenson in front of the goal as the Grizzlies and the Allen Americans play in ECHL Mountain Division Semifinals best of seven series at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
Utah Grizzlies' Michael Pelech battles Dyson Stevenson in front of the goal as the Grizzlies and the Allen Americans play in ECHL Mountain Division Semifinals best of seven series at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah Grizzlies head coach and General Manager Tim Branham announced Wednesday that the team has re-signed forward Michael Pelech.

Pelech enters his fourth season with the Grizzlies after totaling 37 points in 48 games on 16 goals and 21 assists last year after being reacquired from the Reading Royals on Dec. 13. His return to the Utah lineup helped start a 27-13-4-1 run to finish the season, and he was named the team’s Most Valuable Player at the year-end Player Awards Banquet.

“Mike is a very important player to our team,” said Branham. “He is big, strong, physical and plays in every situation. He leads by example.”

In 167 career games with Utah, where he is the ninth leading scorer in team history, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound forward has 140 points on 54 goals and 86 assists. He has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 21 career playoff games for the Grizzlies. Pelech has played in 456 career ECHL games with 109 goals and 202 assists for 311 points and 794 penalty minutes. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2009.

Opening night for the Grizzlies is Saturday, Oct. 14, when the Grizzlies host Colorado at 7 p.m.