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K-WINGS 2023-24 SEASON PREVIEW

Saturday, October 21st
K-WINGS 2023-24 SEASON PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 21, 2023

K-WINGS 2023-24 SEASON PREVIEW

By Chris Cadeau for K-Wings.com 

KALAMAZOO, MI – There’s a collective quiet confidence in the Kalamazoo Wings locker room heading into Saturday’s season and home opener versus the Toledo Walleye. 

And as stated at this season’s annual press conference, there’s a buzz around this organization for all the right reasons.

But I’m not going to blow you up with team statistics from last season and make a prediction for this season’s results. 

To keep it simple, Head Coach Joel Martin put it in terms K-Wings fans deserve when he said, “We’re excited to get going, but we're going to let our play do the talking.”

It’s organizationally understood that proper representation of this city is an honored tradition that’s forged by nearly a half-century of proud alumni. Many of which still call our nook of West Michigan home. 

And nobody takes that more seriously Martin. 

This season’s roster features 11 players returning from last season’s team, seven affiliate loans (Vancouver, Abbotsford & Charlotte), and 10 hand-picked players to fit Martin’s plan to return a championship home to Kalamazoo. Each player fits the team’s mentality of Growth, Grit and Family. 

These K-Wings are primed to control their destiny, more than ever, in 2023-24.

Back to the buzz part… New arena plans are in full swing, season ticket members are at an all-time high, and attendance numbers are going to go bananas this season.

But before we get to the breakdown, it’s important to note that assistant coaches Kohl Schultz and Ben Wilson, along with new video coach Logan Thorne, have created a synergy in the coaches' room with Martin that rivals some of the best leadership qualities I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Ego aside, my multiple enlistments in the greatest fighting force known to man fortify that previous statement (Semper Fi).

So, enjoy the ride K-Wings fans. It’s time to ignite the flight!

GOALTENDERS

#34 JONATHAN LEMIEUX | 6-1, 185 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ABBOTSFORD (AHL) LOAN

Lemieux comes to Kalamazoo fresh off a collegiate season that saw him tear up USports for Concordia University (21 GP, 16-4-0, 1.98 GAA, .933 S%, 3 SO), earning him USports Rookie of the Year, USports Goaltender of the Year and a two-way deal with Abbotsford in the offseason. We already witnessed his ability to stay square to the puck and not waste movement in the preseason. He has the ability to build off of last season’s strong performance in the professional ranks and his character meter is off the charts. 

#79 HUNTER VORVA | 5-11, 195 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Vorva’s rookie season with the K-Wings was stout, making the team as a tryout and finishing top-5 in save percentage (.920) & goals-against (2.61) in the 28 games played (13-9-2, 1 SO). His game and confidence continue to grow, and he’s proven that there’s no moment too big for his abilities. The exciting part about Vorva’s evolution is how he’s now letting the puck come to him more than ever (patience), and he brings positive energy to the locker room no matter what.

FORWARDS

#7 DAVID KEEFER | 5-10, 194 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Keefer busted on the scene out of college in a big way in 2022-23, averaging a point per game (9 GP, 4g, 5a) out of Northern Michigan (38 GP, 15g, 10a, 8 PIM). This young man has a shot that finds the back of the net. Keefer possesses a sneaky release that allows his pucks to find holes and his speed forces defenders to their heals. Expect Keefer to be a key utility guy and to log a ton of minutes on the front end in all situations.

#9 LUKE MORGAN |5-11, 190 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Morgan is a firecracker on the front end and loves to make defenders twist their hips and chase with his speed. The Michigan product is a player expected to take a step forward in production from last season (48 GP, 9g, 18a, 6 PIM), and will benefit from the infusion of skill around him. Morgs is primed to score big goals in big situations this season, coming off a season in which amassed six multipoint games between Kalamazoo and Kansas City.  

#10 TED NICHOL |5-11, 201 lbs | ROOKIE  SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Nichol is a rig in terms of the way he plays the game. He finishes hits, and it doesn’t matter if he’s going north or south, Nichol is bringing the lumber. This one player you do not want to have your head down around because when that train’s rolling, it’s going to be bad business for someone. He logged 15 games with Florida (1g, 2a, 4 PIM) out of Guelph (USports: 19 GP, 4g, 6a, 12 PIM) last season with two impressive seasons (38 pts, 34 pts) in Kingston (OHL) before college.  

#14 TY GLOVER | 6-3, 201 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | VANCOUVER (NHL) LOAN

Glover is no stranger to Kalamazoo. He’s a former Western Michigan Bronco and his father, Jeff, was a Michigan K-Wing back in 1998-99. Glover arrived in Kalamazoo this week, fresh off a trade in which Vancouver acquired him from the Pittsburgh (NHL) organization. Not only is he going to score big goals with his net-front presence, but he can protect the puck to create offensive zone pressure well. Glover is coming off a good rookie campaign (49 GP, 7g, 5a, 15 PIM) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL).

#17 BRANDON SAIGEON | 6-1, 201 lbs | 4TH PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Saigeon is coming off a career year in assists (27) and points (35) and is primed to take the next step in professional goal-scoring in 2023-24. Saigeon is a playmaker who’s on the cusp of breaking out and is relied upon in those tight game situations that need someone to make a play. Saigeon also showed up to camp locked in, and it showed throughout the preseason. Finding stability in the K-Wings organization has the potential to pay big dividends this season.

#18 COLLIN ADAMS | 5-9, 194 lbs | 3RD PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Adams is a pure scorer who can absolutely fly on the ice and returns home to Michigan as one of five Brighton-born players on the roster. Last season, Adams (30 GP, 14g, 18a, 18 PIM) split time between Worcester (30 GP, 14g, 18a, 18 PIM) and Bridgeport (AHL), and earned an ECHL All-Star selection for his efforts. He’s a versatile forward who can play anywhere he’s asked and isn’t afraid to win big faceoffs if needed. Again, his ability to make fast guys look not so fast is super impressive. 

#19 ERIK BRADFORD | 6-0, 187 lbs | 9TH PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Bradford’s no stranger to the K-Wings crest, and he carries that pride with him each time he touches the ice. He’s a triangle destroyer, who uses his elusiveness with the puck to score big goals in big situations. He brings a passion for the game that makes him a natural leader on and off the ice and is looking to make an immediate impact on this team both in the leadership department and the score sheet. Bradford logged 38 games (2g, 2a, 8 PIM) with Cleveland (AHL), and made the most of his short time in Kalamazoo (7 GP, 1g, 6a, 4 PIM) last season. He looks to improve on a 51-point 2021-22 (K-Wings MVP season).

#24 COOPER WALKER | 6-0, 174 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ABBOTSFORD (AHL) LOAN

Walker’s a talented player whose head is always in the game. Cooper’s versatile and effective both up the middle and on the walls. He’s immediately established himself as a penalty kill asset and has the willingness to take a hit to make a play for the team. These intangibles come as no surprise, as Walker arrives in Kalamazoo with an NHL pedigree. One that was cultivated by his father, Scott (800-plus NHL games), who coached Cooper (66 GP, 21g, 30a, 21 PIM) with the Guelph Storm (OHL) last season. 

#25 JOSH PASSOLT | 6-0, 194 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | ABBOTSFORD (AHL) LOAN

Passolt returns to Kalamazoo a year removed from tearing it up at Western Michigan. Nothing’s changed, either. He understands where he needs to be on the ice and is smart in the defensive zone. Passolt’s speed is top-tier for this league, and he’ll be an important part of the K-Wings' power play. Watching him storm past defenders from the offensive corner in the home preseason game, made me audibly say, ‘wow.’ Last season, Passolt throttled the Central Division, leading all Cincinnati rookies in goals (25) and points (47). 

#39 NICO BLACHMAN | 6-2, 198 lbs | 3RD PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Blachman is a fearless player, who’s willing to stick up for his teammates. Not many players can stand toe-to-toe with Nico in this league, but what’s most impressive is his thirst for knowledge to grow as a player. I’ve personally witnessed Blachman studying video with coaches on multiple occasions, looking to grow his game. Just as opposing teams can’t sleep on his game-altering physicality, they shouldn’t sleep on his offensive ability, either, as he notched 8 points (3g, 5a) in 18 games during his time with Norfolk last season.

#44 AYDEN MACDONALD | 6-4, 209 lbs | 3RD PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

MacDonald proved his value in front of the crease in his short time with the K-Wings at the end of last season, scoring nine points (2g, 7a) in 12 games played. Ayden looks ready for a bounce-back season (2022-23: 58 GP, 7g, 17a, 51 PIM) after exploding on the scene with Greenville as a rookie in 2021-22 (44 GP, 20g, 13a, 37 PIM). MacDonald’s not afraid to mix it up. He’s big with soft hands, which is a great combination for production. 

#53 BRAD MORRISON | 6-0, 170 lbs | 6TH PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Morrison is a super exciting addition to this season’s roster after the small sample size everyone enjoyed last season, scoring nine points (1g, 8a) in 11 games coming up from Florida (2022-23: 29 GP, 13g, 17a, 44 PIM). Brad’s also one of the most creative puck handlers on the team, which allows him to create space, when space just seems impossible to create. I expect him to facilitate a lot of offense and drop a lot of jaws this season. He’s another player who should benefit from the stability Kalamazoo provides and is more than capable of replicating his 49-point (16g, 33a) outburst with Reading in 2021-22.

#70 DRAKE PILON | 5-10, 187 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Pilon is best described as a Tasmanian devil on the ice with a great shooter touch, returning after seven games played at the end of last season. He’s a young player with a ton of quiet confidence who plays the game the right way. Expect to see him out on the penalty kill this season, and blowing up opponents when they least expect it. Pilon returns to Kalamazoo after scoring 19 points (12g, 7a) in 29 games played for the University of Prince Edward Island (USports) last season.

#73 TANNER SORENSON | 5-9, 179 lbs | 8TH PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Sorenson returns to Kalamazoo from overseas one season removed from a 56-point season (20g, 36a) in 2021-22. Tanner’s ability to create offense is a welcomed treat, coming off a season where offensive production was a need for this team a season ago. Sorenson should bolster the power play immediately and will be a key leadership piece in the locker room. 

#81 JORDAN SEYFERT | 5-10, 179 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Seyfert (35 GP, 7g, 6a, 10 PIM) was a cornerstone piece at Merrimack (NCAA), before arriving in Kalamazoo this season. He’s sound defensively, and the little details of his game look to be dialed in. Seyfert is good at hunting down pucks, which is a testament to his grit and toughness and is exactly what made him successful at Merrimack. 

#90 JAY KERANEN | 5-11, 183 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Keranen comes to Kalamazoo fresh off winning two B1G Championships at Michigan (40 GP, 1g, 4a, 17 PIM). He’s a player who learns extremely quickly and has improved each day as a pro. At Michigan, he was a go-to extra forward who stepped up in a big way when star players made international appearances and is a player the coaching staff hopes grows into something special. 

#93 JUSTIN TAYLOR | 5-11, 183 lbs | 14TH  PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Taylor returns for his 14th season after putting up another 40-plus points (20g, 21a) season in 2022-23. Justin is a leader on and off the ice with all the intangibles and has all the tools to continue his assault on the franchise and ECHL record books this season. What blows me away the most about Taylor, is how dedicated he is to bringing a championship home to Kalamazoo. To him, outside of this team and his family, nothing else matters.

DEFENSEMEN

#3 MICHAEL JOYAUX | 5-10, 181 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | ABBOTSFORD (AHL) LOAN

Joyaux is an offensive defenseman who’s no stranger to Kalamazoo coming out of Western Michigan University a season ago, and he tore up the ECHL North Division with Newfoundland last season (72 GP, 9g, 32a, 41 PTS, 28 PIM). He sees the ice incredibly well, has a soft touch with the pass, and has a knack for finding shot lanes with his above-average creativity. Plus, he’s special on the power play with 16 assists last season, finishing T-No.2 on the Growlers in that category. 

#4 ROBERT CALISTI | 5-9, 183 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | CHARLOTTE (AHL) LOAN

Calisti is another offensive defenseman and arrived at camp this season ready to make an impact. This young man finished tops in Charlotte’s fitness testing, and as you saw in the preseason, he will undress opponents if that’s what it takes to get the puck to the goal mouth. Last season, despite the small sample size, Calisti (57 GP, 12g, 20a, 4 PIM) took major strides with this coaching staff defensively, and he’ll look to make an impact immediately again. 

#3 DEREK DASCHKE | 6-2, 194 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ABBOTSFORD (AHL) LOAN

Daschke brings size and skill at the blue line, scoring seven points in just 10 games played with the Toledo Walleye out of Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA) last season (37 GP, 2g, 14a, 6 PIM). He’s made rapid improvements to using his size to his advantage each season going back to his pretransfer days with Miami (OH). Daschke also has a thirst to absorb all the knowledge he can to become a better player. Not to mention, he’s assertive with the puck, which should pay dividends. 

#15 JACOB NORDQVIST | 5-9, 181 lbs | ROOKIE SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Nordqvist possesses intangibles that all coaches love out their blue line patrollers. He’s able to skate away from pressure, he’s elusive, and is sound technically. All qualities that made him desirable by Kalamazoo and the reigning NCAA National Champions Quinnipiac University last season (38GP, 11a). Previously, Jacob averaged over 15 points a season across four seasons with Lake Superior State before transferring to QU. I wouldn’t be surprised if surges here in the ECHL with those intangibles. 

#23 COLLIN SACCOMAN | 5-9, 181 lbs | 2ND PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Saccoman plays the game with a passion that’s on the Justin Taylor level. This is another player that’s ready to take the next step, and the coaching staff loves that he’s a player that they can use as an example of how they want things to look. He comes into the season looking stronger and more explosive than a year ago (60gp, 4g, 17a, 55 PIM), and he loves to eat pucks and put guys into the wall. Plus, he’s a magician. Like a real magician. Enough said.

#28 KURT GOSSELIN | 6-1, 201 lbs | 4TH PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

This Brighton, MI native can be incredibly dynamic both with and without the puck. Gosselin’s toughness meter is exactly what teams need in terms of consistency and physicality on the yellow. He’s looking to take another step forward after stepping away from the game for two seasons to take care of a family member, before returning last season, coming over from Toledo  (45 GP, 7g, 6a, 31 PIM). Goose is also another key leadership piece in the K-Wings locker room.

#29 CHAZ REDDEKOPP | 6-3, 225 lbs | 6TH PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Reddekopp comes to Kalamazoo from South Carolina (51 GP, 1g, 13a, 109 PIM) as the reigning ECHL Community Service Player of the Year, and his game is just as impressive. He’s hard to play against and has AHL-caliber tendencies in terms of the way he defends. Reddekopp commands the neutral zone with his speed and possesses all the intangibles. Another key offseason addition and a gleaming example that younger players can emulate.  

#55 CONNER WALTERS | 6-1, 205 lbs | 3RD PRO SEASON | ECHL STANDARD PLAYER CONTRACT

Walters plays the game heavy and can manipulate players retrieving pucks on the yellow, which makes him extremely difficult to play against. Walters is an example of the type of defenseman that every team needs: a no BS, put your hard hat on and go to work, and a calm presence in the dressing room. He comes with Central Division experience (Toledo, rookie year) and has the potential to break out offensively from last season’s production (1g, 14a, 28 PIM) in 2023-24.

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Kalamazoo’s ‘Home Opener’ kicks off the 2023-24 regular season on Saturday, October 21 versus Toledo Walleye at 7:00 p.m. EST at Wings Event Center. Tickets to the Home Opener, and each of the K-Wings’s 36-game home schedule, can be purchased HERE.

It’s also not too late to secure 2023-24 K-Wings season tickets. Enjoy exclusive benefits, including guaranteed seat location to all 36 home games, complimentary parking, early access to the arena, and more. Click HERE to join the ranks of the K-Wings High Flyers today.

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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 Vancouver Canucks and the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Canucks. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.

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Upcoming Games

Full Schedule
Kalamazoo Wings
Newfoundland Growlers
Friday, March 1st
Kalamazoo Wings @ Newfoundland Growlers
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM NST (5:30 PM EST)
Mary Brown's Centre
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Newfoundland Growlers
NFL Newfoundland Growlers
Mary Brown's Centre
Kalamazoo Wings
Newfoundland Growlers
Saturday, March 2nd
Kalamazoo Wings @ Newfoundland Growlers
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM NST (5:30 PM EST)
Mary Brown's Centre
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Newfoundland Growlers
NFL Newfoundland Growlers
Mary Brown's Centre
Kalamazoo Wings
Newfoundland Growlers
Sunday, March 3rd
Kalamazoo Wings @ Newfoundland Growlers
Puck Drops:
4:00 PM NST (2:30 PM EST)
Mary Brown's Centre
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Newfoundland Growlers
NFL Newfoundland Growlers
Mary Brown's Centre
'DUMB AND DUMBER' NIGHT | $3 FRIDAY
Friday, March 8th
'DUMB AND DUMBER' NIGHT | $3 FRIDAY
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EST
Wings Event Center
Indy Fuel
IND Indy Fuel
at
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
Wings Event Center
Kalamazoo Wings
Toledo Walleye
Saturday, March 9th
Kalamazoo Wings @ Toledo Walleye
Puck Drops:
7:15 PM EST
Huntington Center
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
at
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
Huntington Center
'MASCOT MADNESS' GAME
Sunday, March 10th
'MASCOT MADNESS' GAME
Puck Drops:
3:00 PM EDT
Wings Event Center
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
Wings Event Center

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
'DUMB AND DUMBER' NIGHT | $3 FRIDAY
Friday, March 8th
'DUMB AND DUMBER' NIGHT | $3 FRIDAY
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EST
Wings Event Center
Indy Fuel
IND Indy Fuel
at
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
Wings Event Center
'MASCOT MADNESS' GAME
Sunday, March 10th
'MASCOT MADNESS' GAME
Puck Drops:
3:00 PM EDT
Wings Event Center
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
Wings Event Center
'GAME SHOW' NIGHT | $3 FRIDAY
Friday, March 15th
'GAME SHOW' NIGHT | $3 FRIDAY
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Wings Event Center
Allen Americans
ALN Allen Americans
at
Kalamazoo Wings
KAL Kalamazoo Wings
Wings Event Center

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