As new head coach Joel Martin continues building his roster for the upcoming season, five more familiar faces are returning to the Kalamazoo Wings.
Forwards Matheson Iacopelloi and Max Humitz and defenseman Justin Murray, Ryan Cook and Tyler Rockwell are set to return to the ice.
Iacopelli, hailing from Brownstown, MI, will be returning for his third season with the K-Wings. In 61 games last season, Iacopelli scored 21 goals and 15 assists.
After a summer of working construction with his father and training young hockey players, the Western Michigan University alum is glad to be back in Kalamazoo.
“ Kalamazoo is a place where I feel like I can get my game to the next level,” Iacopelli said.
Iacopelli is equally excited to be playing for Martin.
“I’m expecting him to hold guys accountable on and off the ice,” Iacopelli said. “What excites me about playing for Marty is winning games and making his job easier.”
After failing to make the playoffs last season, Iacopelli is hoping for a better outcome this year.
“In order to make the playoffs and beyond we need to be a team that shows up every night, one that is hard-nosed, and relentless,” Iacopelli said.
Martin likes what Iacopelli brings to the ice each night.
“Also a former Bronco, Matti can bring the fans to their feet at any moment with his elite skill and fantastic shot,” Martin said.
Humitz, 27, will be entering his second season as a pro and second with the K-Wings. Last season, Humitz played in 45 games, due to a call up to the Grand Rapids Griffins and an injury. The Livonia, MI native and Lake Superior State alum scored 13 goals and 11 assists last season.
“It’s awesome to be coming back to Wings Event Center and putting on a K-Wings jersey again,” Humitz said. “October can’t come fast enough, and we’re ready to get the arena rocking again on opening night.”
Murray, 24, will be entering his third season as a pro and his second in Kalamazoo. Murray, last season’s Defenseman of the Year, played in 69 games, scoring 6 goals and adding 25 assists while also racking up 76 penalty minutes.
“I’m really looking forward to starting the season and building on last year as a team.” Murray said in a statement released by the team. “It’s a great fanbase in Kalamazoo, and I can’t wait to be back in Wings Event Center again.”
Head coach Joel Martin is happy to have Murray back in the lineup.
“Bringing back Justin Murray was a top priority for us this season,” said Martin in a statement released by the team. “He played in all situations for us, and as a third year pro, we expect him to pick up right where he left off.”
Cook, 27, will be entering his third season as a pro. Coming to the K-Wings on March 15th of last season, Cook played in 12 games, scoring one goal and one assist. Cook also played for both the Norfolk Admirals and Adirondack Thunder last season.
“Coming back to Kalamazoo is exciting, because everyone from the ownership on down just makes you feel a part of a family, which makes it an incredible place to play,” Cook said in a statement released by the team.
Martin is excited to have Cook back in the lineup and all that he brings to the ice.
“Ryan came to us late in the season and took advantage of his opportunity to become an everyday player,” said Martin in a statement released by the team. “He brings size and good puck moving ability every night.”
Rockwell, 26, will be suiting up for his second season with the K-Wings. Last year’s “Unsung Hero” award winner scored three goals and added twelve assists last season during his rookie campaign.
The San Jose, CA native and alum of Michigan Tech, is ready to hit the ice in Kalamazoo.
“I’m extremely excited to get back to the Wings Event Center and play in front of the most passionate fans in the ECHL,” Rockwell said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get the season started.”
The K-Wings will kick off the season on October 22.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen