With just under 40 days until opening night, the Kalamazoo Wings roster continues to take shape.
Several signings were announced recently and two of them have ties to Kalamazoo. Forward Kyle Blaney is returning to the team while goaltender Trevor Gorsuch played for Western Michigan University.
Blaney is returning for his fifth season with the K-Wings. The 30-year old native of Burlington, Ontario has played his entire professional career in Kalamazoo. Blaney was signed to play for the K-Wings last season, but took the year off when the K-Wings opted out of the season due to COVID.
Blaney has played in 214 games and has racked up 147 points (38 goals and 109 assists) during that time.
Blaney is ready for the season to start and is happy to be back in Kalamazoo.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Kalamazoo and have a great relationship with the staff,” said Blaney in a statement released by the team. “It was an easy decision to come back, because I’m excited for what we have and the challenge ahead.”
Goaltender Trevor Gorsuch is a 2019 graduate of Western Michigan University where he appeared in 53 games for the Broncos compiling a 25-16-3 record. Gorsuch racked up an impressive 19-11-1 record in 32 games with the Broncos during his senior year.
Gorsuch is looking forward to his return to Kalamazoo.
“I’m very excited to come back to Kalamazoo,” Gorsuch said. “(This is) where I spent my college years at WMU and the city and the atmosphere was a big factor into why I chose to go to WMU. So coming back to a city I called home for 4 years is something I jumped at the chance.”
Gorsuch will be entering his third season as a pro after having played for the Utah Grizzlies and Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL last year. In his first season after college, Gorsuch played for the Reading Royals and Toledo Walleye where he posted a 9-4-1 record, with a 2.54 goals-against average (GAA) and .919 save percentage.
Gorsuch noted several differences between playing in college and the pros.
“The difference between the college and pro game is that it is much more controlled at the pro level,” he said. “College can be way too much of dump and chase and crash the net. Whereas the pro game is all about puck control and looking for the great scoring opportunity.”
Gorsuch is eager to join the K-Wings and said that he is honored and thrilled to be a part of their long and proud history.
Head Coach Nick Bootland has been watching Gorsuch for a while.
“We have had our eye on Trevor since his days at [WMU],” said Bootland in a statement released by the team. “His familiarity with the city and this league should make for a seamless transition.”
Gorsuch has ties with another K-Wings, Matheson Iacopelli. The two played together at WMU and were roommates their sophomore year. Gorsuch also has a history with K-Wings Assistant Coach Joel Martin, which helped make his decision to sign with the K-Wings an easy choice.
“I would have to say that it was conversations I had with Assistant Coach and goalie coach Joel Martin,” Gorsuch said. “He is very familiar with my game as he used to train with my goalie coach when he was still playing but also kept tabs on me during my time at WMU.”
Gorsuch played last season with the COVID protocols set in place by the ECHL. While he was grateful for the experience to play and be seen by many different teams, he admits it was not always easy.
“There were also times it was quite hard as the league COVID protocols made life at and away from the rink very lonely,” he said.
The K-Wings also added a pair of former teammates to the lineup. Forward Erik Bradford and defenseman Brenden Miller will team up for the third consecutive year. After playing for the Brampton Beast during the 2019-20 season, the two laced up for the Jacksonville Iceman last year. The duo also played together with the Orlando Solar Bears during the 2015-16 season.
“I’m looking forward to getting down to the city and playing in front of what I imagine is a pretty eager fan base, with the team being unable to play last year,” said Bradford said in a statement. “Management is really excited about the team they’ve put together and with that comes expectations. I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping my new teammates not only meet those expectations, but exceed them.”
Training camp is scheduled to begin on October 7th.
Submitted by Mark C. McGlothlen