K-Wings announce first four signings of the season

KALAMAZOO – With the 2012-2013 season of Kalamazoo Wings hockey just around the corner, the K-Wings announced their first four signings yesterday evening.

All four players have previously played for the K-Wings, with two of them returning to the team after playing elsewhere the past few years.

Goaltender Joel Martin will be returning the K-Wings after spending last season playing in Denmark. Martin, who first played for the K-Wings in 2004-05, was a member of the Colonial Cup Championship team the following year. Martin also played for the K-Wings during the 2008-09 season.

“Very few goaltenders, no matter what level of hockey, bring the conditioning and competiveness of Joel Martin,” said K-Wings coach Nick Bootland in a press release. “We (K-Wings) have seen firsthand that he has what it takes to help a team win a championship.”

Since his last stint with the K-Wings, Martin has spent two seasons in the Central Hockey League with the Odessa Jackalopes where he was named the CHL Goaltender of the Year in 2010. Martin also played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL during the 2010-11 season.

After spending last season playing for the Belfast Giants, Aaron Clarke returns to the K-Wings for his first full season. In 34 games for the Giants, Clarke scored 16 goals and added 34 assists. Clarke first played for the K-Wings during the 2010-11 season.

“Aaron is a player that competes at a high level every time he is on the ice,” said Bootland. “During our run to the Kelly Cup Finals, he (Clarke) demonstrated that he can help our team in every facet.”

Defenseman Sam Ftorek is returning for his fourth season. Ftorek, who is entering his 15th season overall scored 11 goals and 32 assists in 63 games last


“With his (Ftorek) team-first mentality and knowledge of the game, Ftorek is an invaluable member of the team for his efforts on and off the ice”, said Bootland. “Sam does whatever needs to be done to win games, whether that’s at blue line or up front.

Entering his 18th season of professional hockey, Kory Karlander will be returning for his seventh season as a member of the K-Wings. Last season, Karlander

played in his 1,000the career game and has the distinction of being the only K-Wing player in history of playing in each of the leagues that the K-Wings have

played in, including the original IHL.

“Karlander has the ability to make players around him better,” said Bootland. “He (Karlander) is a reliable two-way player that exemplifies what being a K-Wing is all about.”

Karlander, Martin and Bootland were all members of the 2005-06 championship team.

The regular season kicks off on Friday October 12th as the K-Wings travel to Fort Wayne to take on the Komets.

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