The Kalamazoo Wings, now affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL and the Abbotsford Canucks of the AHL, have announced 12 player signings in the past two months. While we wait for the remainder of the signings to be announced, let’s dive into how the team is shaping up for its 50th year of hockey in Kalamazoo.
Vorva Back in Net
Hunter Vorva, a Kalamazoo native, made his ECHL debut last season with the K-Wings, finishing out with a GAA of 2.61 and an SV% of .920. He went 13-9-2, leading over Evan Cormier and Pavel Cajan. At 5 foot 11 inches and 179 pounds, the 27-year-old makes up for his lack of size with speed and a keen eye when tracking the puck. He earned Kalamazoo’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ for his 22-23 performance.
First up, rookie defenseman Jay Keranen. Last year, he played 40 games in maize and blue for the University of Michigan, where he had one goal, four assists, and 17 penalty minutes with a +6 rating. At 5 feet 11 inches and 183 pounds, this 25-year-old Brighton, Michigan native brings more local talent to this storied club.
Next up is Chaz Reddekopp from West Kelowna, BC. Standing at 6 foot 3 inches and 191 pounds, this 26-year-old played 51 games for the South Carolina Stingrays. During the season, he earned 1 goal, 13 assists, 109 penalty minutes, and a +12 rating. He also played five games in the playoffs with one goal and 6 PIM. He brings five years of professional hockey experience from the AHL and ECHL combined to the blue liners.
Kurt Gosselin, 28, was acquired from the Toledo Walleye last year, where he played 18 games, amassing 3 goals and 19 penalty minutes. With the K-Wings, he played 27 games and earned four goals, six assists, and 31 penalty minutes. Measuring 6 feet 1 inch and 201 pounds, he also hails from Brighton, Michigan, and brings two years of ECHL experience with him.
Defenseman Connor Walters, out of Welland, Ontario, joins the wings at 6 feet 1 inch and 205 pounds. Last year, he played 63 games with 1 goal, four assists, 28 penalty minutes, and a -6 rating for the Wichita Thunder. He’s a great shot blocker, and you can expect to see him on the penalty kill.
Collin Saccoman is described as a warrior on the ice. The 6 foot 1 inch and 200 pounds Stillwater, MN native earned four goals, 17 assists, 55 penalty minutes, and a +1 rating in 60 games for the K-Wings. He earned the team Defensive Player of the Year award as well as the K-Wings Community Service Award.
Net Front Presence
Rookie forward Ted Nichols from Listowel, ON, joins the team at 5 foot 11 inches and 201 pounds. Last year, he scored one goal and two assists and amassed four penalty minutes in 15 games with the Florida Everblades to finish their 22-23 regular season. Nichols was acquired via a future consideration trade agreement with the Everblades when they received the rights to Logan Lambdin last season. Look for him to center the third or fourth line.
David Keefer of Brighton, MI, is joining the team for his first full rookie season following nine games played with the club last year, where he scored four goals, five assists, and incurred eight penalty minutes. Before joining the K-Wings, he played 38 games with Northern Michigan University, where he earned 15 goals, ten assists, and eight penalty minutes. At 5 feet 10 inches, this 194-pound right winger will be a step ahead of other rookies with the ECHL time he played last year.
Drafted by the New York Rangers in 2015, this 6-foot-tall, 170-pound Prince George, BC native is ready to center in Kalamazoo. Brad Morrison returns to Kalamazoo after 11 games, where he scored 1 goal and eight assists for the K-wings and 12 goals and nine assists in 28 games with the Everblades. Between the two clubs, he earned himself 44 penalty minutes. Look for him to center the second line, most likely.
ECHL All-Star Collin Adams joins the Kalamazoo Wings as another Brighton, MI native. While playing for the Worcester Railers in the 22-23 season, he notched 14 goals, 18 assists, and 18 penalty minutes in 30 games. He also played 20 games for the Bridgeport Islanders in the AHL, getting three goals and four assists in 20 games. At 5 feet 9 inches and 198 pounds, he brings much-needed speed to the offensive line.
This next forward hails from Langley, BC. At 6 foot 4 inches and 209 pounds, Ayden MacDonald played 46 games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, notching five goals and ten assists with 43 penalty minutes. With the K-Wings, he scored two goals and seven assists in 12 games with eight penalty minutes. He was acquired in a trade last season when Kalamazoo traded Max Humitz to South Carolina for Evan Wardley. Wardley was then traded to Greenville for MacDonald. He brings a solid physical presence on the ice.
Tanner Sorenson is back. After spending a season in the EIHL with the Nottingham Panthers, where he played 49 regular season games and scored 15 goals and 16 assists with 79 penalty minutes, he has returned to Kalamazoo with even more playoff experience. He notched two goals and one assist in 4 post-season games with the Panthers. He has amassed quite the stats during his years with the K-Wings, with 288 games played, 87 goals, 131 assists, and 334 penalty minutes. He’s not afraid of the box and will always fight his case. At 5 feet 10 inches and 179 pounds, expect him to be centering the first line and continuing to be an aggressive net-front presence.
What’s Next for the K-Wings
With only twelve players signed and the 49th opening season game a little over a month away, Kalamazoo Wings fans anxiously await news on the rest of the roster. Will we see Justin Taylor re-sign and continue to set his record for most games with the club? What about last year’s Captain, Justin Murray? The coaching staff has been announced, with former goalie Joel Martin as Coach and Director of Hockey Operations. Ben Wilson, a former player of 11 years and video coach, will be joining Assistant Coach Kohl Schultz behind the bench as the second Assistant Coach.
One thing we know for sure as K-Wings fans; Wings Event Center will be loud, the beers will be cold, and Slappy will have his drum. Let’s go K-Wings!