The Kalamazoo Wings announced a trio of signings recently for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Two of the returning players are familiar names while one will be playing his first season with the K-Wings.
Defenseman Ben Wilson is returning to the K-Wings for his seventh season with the club. Wilson has been the captain of the team the past three seasons.
During his time in Kalamazoo, Wilson has played in 317 games. Wilson has a total of 57 points (11goals and 46assists) and 468 penalty minutes.
“Ben bleeds blue and red and our staff and players cannot say enough good things about him,” said K-Wings Head Coach Nick Bootland in a statement released by the team. “What he provides as a leader of this team goes far beyond what shows up on the stat sheet.”
Also returning to the K-Wings is forward Kyle Blaney. Blaney, 28, will be entering his fourth season with the team.
Playing in 169 games, Blaney has 27 goals and 83 assists.
“I’m excited for this upcoming season,” said Blaney said in a statement. “It’s time for this group to have the success it’s capable of. We have a great group from the staff through to the players. It’s time to stop talking about doing it, and just go out there and do it.”
Coach Bootland noted Blaney’s flexibility on the ice and his untapped potential.
“Kyle is a player we relied heavily on last season,” said Bootland. “He played in all situations for us and we feel he still has not reached his full potential yet. He has worked hard this summer to be even more of a factor for our team.”
Rounding out the signings is rookie defenseman Ian Edmondson. Edmondson, 24, played his college career at Canisius College from 2015-19. During that time he racked up 34 points (4 goals and 30 assists) in 122 games. During his sophomore season, the Golden Griffins won the regular-season Atlantic Hockey Association conference title. Edmondson was named to the AHA All-Academic Team last year and won the Golden Griffins’ Community Outreach Award and Tom Chapman Memorial Award as the team’s unsung hero.
Edmondson did get a taste of the ECHL style of play last season. Suiting up for the Wichita Thunder for 10 games, Edmondson had four assists and 31 penalty minutes.
Having a little playing experience in the league is a bonus for Edmondson.
“My brief time in the ECHL, after my college season ended, was really helpful in me getting used to the speed and skill at this level,” Edmondson said. “It also gave me a taste of the schedule that you go through every week so now I know what to expect for this coming year.”
Edmondson said it was a pretty easy decision to sign with the K-Wings.
“Coach Bootland really emphasized the culture that they live by on the team and the importance that he places on developing his players so that they reach the next level,” Edmondson said.
“The focus that he puts into his players and this organization is really what drew me to signing here in Kalamazoo. I talked with Tyler Ganly (K-Wing player last season) as well before signing. He and I had played hockey growing up a lot and I trust his opinion, so when all he had to say were good things about the team I was pretty sold.”
“He was a great leader in college,” said Bootland. “Ian makes a great first pass and skates well. He had a taste of ECHL hockey last season and that will give him a huge advantage.”
Edmondson added that while he is new to Kalamazoo, he can’t wait to get started.
“ I’m from Toronto, Ontario and for the past 4 years played for Canisius College in Buffalo, NY,” Edmondson said. “I have never been to Kalamazoo but I’m excited to see what it’s all about and for this upcoming season with the Wings.”
By: Mark C. McGlothlen