ECHL: Kalamazoo Signs Four Including Mariah Fujimagari

K-Wings Bring Bradford Back

Erik Bradford is returning! Another veteran of both the ECHL and AHL, this 28-year-old Orangeville, ON native, is entering his ninth season of professional hockey. Standing tall at 6 foot, 185lbs, he played on a two-way contract last year with the K-Wings and the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. In 38 games with the Monsters, he scored two goals and two assists with eight penalty minutes, while in eight games with the Wings, he scored a goal and six assists with four penalty minutes. In the 21-22 season with Kalamazoo, he played 54 games, notching 19 goals, 32 assists, and nine penalty minutes, where he also sported the “A” on his sweater. Bradford brings great leadership as well as talent and experience. He is a strong, fast centerman with a great net-front presence. In his nine years in pro hockey, he has scored 336 points in 445 games, including three 50-point seasons with three different ECHL clubs (Utah, Brampton, and Kalamazoo).

Physicality and Grit

Nico Blachman, 25, hails from Aventura, FL. At 6’2, 198lbs, he enters his third pro season and first with the club. Last season, he saw ice time with the Allen Americans, Savannah Ghost Pirates, and Norfolk Admirals, where he scored five goals, and six assists and rallied 265 penalty minutes in 43 games total. He brings a physical aspect to the forward lines that is tough to play against. After losing Anthony Collins to Savannah, Blachman fills a much-needed tough guy role that fans will look forward to seeing.

Brandon Yeamans, 25, joins the team after spending last season on three different teams as well. Between the Cincinnati Cyclones, Florida Everblades, and Jacksonville Iceman, this strong forward played 47 games, scoring four goals, three assists, and 77 penalty minutes. At 5’10, 180lbs, and hailing from Maple, ON, he has played quite a few games on the opposite side of Wings Event Center and is no stranger to the fan base.

New Face in the Net

Mariah Fujimagari, 29, has signed a Professional Tryout contract with the club for the 22-23 season, making her the first female goaltender to sign a contract in the ECHL. She is not the first female to play for the team, but has the chance to be the first female goaltender in the league to start for an ECHL team. Molly McMaster holds the spot for the first female on the team to play a game, but Fujimagari is the first female player to sign a contract with the club. McMaster played in one game in the 05-06 season for multiple teams to raise awareness for Colorectal Cancer.

Fujimagari, 5’11, Markham, ON native, will be entering her rookie season with the K-Wings. She spent last season with the AIK in the SDHL(W), playing 14 games with a 4.52 GAA and .877 SV%. In the 20-22 season, she was between the pipes for the Connecticut Whale for five games, where she went 5-0-0 with two shutouts at 1.40 GAA and .938 SV%.

Full Roster Ahead of Pre-Season

With 20 players signed, the K-Wings are missing some veterans and key players from the last few years. According to Elite Prospects, Justin Murray, last year’s Captain, and Justin Taylor, last year’s Alternate Captain and current All-Time game leader and points leader for the club, has not signed yet; while it would be strange not to see the veterans return, it appears Head Coach Joel Martin is building a team from the ground up with new toughness and physicality on both ends of the ice.

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