KALAMAZOO, MI—Former Kalamazoo Wings defenseman and assistant coach Sam Ftorek has been named as one of three members of the ECHL Hall of Fame’s class of 2018, the league announced Thursday. He will be officially inducted at the 2018 Hall of Fame Banquet in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Monday, January 15, held in conjunction with the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic.
Ftorek spent 14 seasons in the ECHL, including 2009-14 as a player with the Wings and 2015-16 as the team’s assistant coach. During his final season as a player, Ftorek passed Hall of Fame inductee Cam Brown with the most career games played in league history by skating in his 790th contest on December 14, 2014 against the Toledo Walleye. He eventually finished his career with 837 career ECHL games played and over 1,000 throughout his entire professional career, which spanned until he was 40 years old.
The native of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, ranks 10th all-time in ECHL history with 360 career assists, and 17th all-time with 548 career points.
“The longevity Sam Ftorek had to play in the ECHL for over 800 games shows that he’s a true competitor and a gentleman who loves the game,” head coach Nick Bootland said. “He always has been and always will be student of the game.
“We’re very proud that Sam is the first former Kalamazoo Wing to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. It’s very well deserved.”
While with the Wings, Ftorek had some of the most productive years of his career. He skated in 407 games with the organization over his six-year tenure, which leaves him ranked fifth in team history. He totaled 71 goals and 200 assists, with the latter ranking 8th all-time in the team’s 44-year history.
During the 2013-14 season, he was named to the All-ECHL First Team and was runner-up for the league’s Defenseman of the Year award. Well respected by his coaches and peers, he was the Wings’ team captain during the 2009-10 season and served as an alternate captain during the next five seasons until his retirement.
Ftorek is currently the head coach of the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Joining him in the ECHL Hall of Fame’s 2018 class are Steve Chapman and Jason Saal.
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