A total of 31 players have taken to the ice at Wings Event Center this past week as the Kalamazoo Wings started training camp.
The roster consists of 18 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goaltenders. Eleven of the players were on last year’s squad while two of the players have played for the K-Wings previously.
One of those returning players, defenseman Brandon Lubin, is happy to be wearing the K-Wing jersey again this season.
“It’s great to be back,” Lubin said. “I really enjoyed my time in Kalamazoo and that made it a very quick and simple decision for wanting to come back for another year. The K-Wings are a top-notch organization.”
Lubin said that he is looking forward to a great season, one that includes a run at the Kelly Cup.
“I feel we have a strong group returning along with some new incoming guys that will be a good addition,” Lubin said. “I think it’ll be a great camp with a lot of energy. I look forward to building bonds with the guys and getting ready to take on the season full steam and have a great year.”
On the ice, Lubin says that his style of play includes strong defensive plays, whether it be good passes out of the zone and play sound defensively.
“I bring a little bit of physical play in front of the net and in our zone and join in the offense when the time permits,” Lubin added.
Rookie Matt VanVoorhis spent the last two seasons playing in Norway but is excited to be back on the ice in North America and with the K-Wings.
“I love that everything here is a team-first mentality and that it is all about culture,” VanVoorhis said. “So far I have been blown away by the professionalism of the organization from top to bottom.”
After finishing his collegiate career at the University of Denver, VanVoorhis headed to Norway, an experience he truly enjoyed.
“My experience in Norway was great,” VanVoorhis said. “It is a beautiful country, and the city of Oslo is fantastic. The hockey is very fast-paced, and there are a lot of skilled hockey players over there. It was a great spot to start my career.”
During his time at the University of Denver, VanVoorhis and the Pioneers won the National Championship.
“It was an amazing ride,” VanVoorhis said. “We had a lot of talented players on our team that year and we really came together as a group. We had a fantastic culture.”
Kalamazoo Wings Training Camp Roster
Goaltenders (3): Jake Hildebrand (SPC), Jake Kielly (NHL), Max Milosek (PTO)
Defensemen (9): Cory Dunn (SPC), Ian Edmondson (SPC), Tyler Ganly (SPC), Eric Kattelus (SPC), Nick LeSage (ATO), Brandon Lubin (SPC), Aaron Thow (AHL), Matt VanVoorhis (SPC), James Vermeulen (SPC), Ben Wilson (SPC)
Forwards (18): Mitch Atkins (ATO), Kyle Blaney (SPC), Tommaso Bucci (ATO), Adam Dauda (SPC), Zach Diamantoni (SPC), Matt Iacopelli (SPC), Zane Jones (SPC), Justin Kovacs (SPC), Keegan Miller (ATO), Craig Pefley (SPC), Zach Saar (SPC), Dylan Sadowy (AHL), Luke Sandler (SPC), Brennan Sanford (SPC), Garrison Sanipass (ATO), Tanner Sorenson (AHL), Justin Taylor (SPC), Yannick Veilleux (SPC)
SPC – standard player contract
PTO – professional tryout
ATO – amateur tryout
AHL – American Hockey League contract (Utica)
NHL – National Hockey League contract (Vancouver)
The K-Wings host the Toledo Walleye tonight in a preseason game. The game begins at 7 PM. Tickets are $5 and parking is free.
The K-Wings season kicks off on the road when they take on the Fort Wayne Komets on October 12th. The K-Wings will open the home portion of their schedule on October 19th as they battle the Cincinnati Cyclones at 7 PM. Prior to the home opener, the K-Wings will host a Fan Fest at 4:30 p.m. With a game ticket, fans will be able to enjoy live music, a bounce house, a player red carpet introduction, food trucks, and a Smash Car, where a small donation will give fans the opportunity to smash a car with a sledgehammer. Proceeds from the Smash Car will be donated to a non-profit.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen