FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2022
K-WINGS FORWARD MAX HUMITZ PREFERS SKATES OVER THE MIC, FOR NOW
Kalamazoo’s talented rookie is willing to try everything hockey has to offer.
By Pam Shebest @KalamzooWings / KWings.com
KALAMAZOO, MI— While Max Humitz spent six weeks sidelined by injury, he had a chance to try a new venture.
The Kalamazoo Wings rookie was in the broadcast booth for a couple games as the color guy with K-Wings Voice Chris Cadeau, gaining a new perspective on the sport he has played most of his life.
“It’s always a good surprise when you get to bring a player into the press box, and Max came well-prepared and ready to go, which made my job extremely easy,” Cadeau said.
Humitz said when Cadeau asked if any players wanted to join him in the booth, he was intrigued to see the game from a different angle.
The bird’s-eye view was definitely different.
“Each game, halfway through the third period, I’d get so intense on what was happening in the game that I’d forget I had to talk,” the personable forward laughed. “I could feel myself just shutting down because I was yelling for the team.
“It was hard to stay monotone on the radio. It was fun, though. I’d definitely go back up there and do it again, if I had the opportunity! But hopefully I stay on the ice now.”
Watching play from the broadcast booth has also helped Humitz now that he’s back on the ice.
“You see plays develop before they develop,” he said. ”Also, it’s a lot faster when you’re on the ice or ice level than it is in the stands. You’re up in the top row there looking down and you see all this space around the ice. You’re like ‘Move the puck over there.’
“But when you’re on the ice, you’ve got four guys coming after you to take your head off and there’s just not enough time. When you come back, you also bring that with you, to know you have that time with the puck and you know where the open ice is to make the better play.”
The Michigan native, who is from Livonia, and the K-Wings are a good fit.
“(Humitz) is a guy that provides a lot of offensive spark,” K-Wings coach Nick Bootland said. “He’s got a great offensive IQ and a great shot. He’s a guy we worked super hard in the summer to acquire.
“The reality is he came in as a rookie player, and he has to earn it every night. So, getting that production out of a rookie is nice.”
That production includes 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in 31 games.
“(Max) ended up being out for six weeks and that’s a lot of time,” Bootland said. “You think about how many times your team is on the ice in a six-week span, how many games they play and how much ice time is missed in that period of time.
“He skated prior to coming back and playing, but when you miss a lot of time, getting up to speed isn’t always easy. And what we’re seeing now is that he’s starting to hit his stride.”
Hockey as a Toddler
Humitz started playing hockey at age 3, coached by his dad who played at University of Michigan, Dearborn when it had a Division 1 program.
“He was a great role model for me and he was my coach until I started playing junior hockey at age 17,” Humitz said. “He’s one of the few coaches I’ve had in my career so far.”
Playing college hockey at Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, Humitz had a chance to turn pro after his junior season but opted to finish his degree in kinesiology.
His senior year brought additional accolades.
He was named team captain and was a nominee for the Hobey Baker, the highest recognition for a college hockey player.
While the K-Wings did not play last season because of COVID, Humitz played eight games with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, scoring three times and adding two assists.
When the K-Wings came calling, it was a no-brainer.
“Coach Bootland called me mid-July, showed interest, and was very persistent with it,” Humitz said. “I knew he wanted me, and he knew what I wanted to get out of this year: to play a lot of games and move up to an American League level, which I did earlier in the year (nine games in Grand Rapids).
“I’ve always loved this area. I also played in Muskegon when I was playing Junior hockey so this area has meant everything.”
The area also lends itself to Humitz’s favorites: fishing, wakeboarding, water skiing and golf.
The injury this year was the first time in his career that Humitz has had a long absence from the game.
“It was tough mentally, tough physically,” he said. “I was around but I just wasn’t on the ice a good majority of the time.
“Once I was on the ice, it was nice to be back and get back into the flow of things and be back to being a professional hockey player again and in that routine of skating every day.”
At age 26, Humitz hopes he still has many, many years left as a player, but he already has plans for when the time comes to hang up the skates.
“I’d like to be involved in hockey at some level, youth or college,” he said.
“I want to use my degree, be in the gym and help young guys improve their skill level, whether it’s on the ice or off the ice. I’ve had a couple internships focused on that the past couple summers.”
While his hockey genes came from his father, he inherited a few broadcasting ones from his uncle, who competed in the Tour de France several times and now travels the world broadcasting cycling tours.
As for broadcasting as his own career, “It’d be fun and a different thing to learn, to see the sky view of the game and talk about it, give your insights about here and there after playing the game for 22 years now,” Humitz said.
But that is something he is not planning on any time soon.
The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.