The Kalamazoo Wings announced their end of season awards. The awards were voted on by the fans.
Longtime K-Wing player, Justin Taylor, was the big winner, taking home three awards. Taylor was named as the Fan Favorite, Star of the Game and the Most Valuable Player for the 2019-20 season. Taylor, who spent time with the AHL Utica Comets this year, played in 49 games for the K-Wings, scoring 20 goals and adding 19 assists.
Assistant Captain Boston Leier was named the winner of the Community Service Award. Goaltender Jake Kielly was named as the winner of the Sportsmanship Award.
Defenseman Ian Edmondson was named as the Rookie of the Year and the winner of the Plus/Minus Award. In 54 games with the K-Wings, Edmondson had four goals and 16 assists and a plus/minus rating of plus 13.
Ben Wilson was named as the Defenseman of the Year.
Forward Zach Diamantoni was named as the Most Improved Player. During his rookie season in 2018-19, Diamantoni played in 47 games, scoring 2 goals and 9 assists. In 2019-20, Diamantoni scored 9 goals and 20 assists.
The Unsung Hero of the season was forward Matteson Iacopelli. Before an injury ended his season, Iacopelli scored 16 goals and 15 assists.
The ECHL also announced nominations for their 2019-20 league awards this past week. The K-Wings racked up seven nominations.
The K-Wings were nominated for “Best Theme Night”for the teams Guinness World Record setting lightsaber battle during “Star Wars Night” on November 2, 2019. The team was also nominated for the “Most Creative Ticket Package” for their meet and greet with “The Office” star, Leslie David Baker, who played Stanley Hudson on the show.
Two individuals were nominated for awards as well. K-Wings Governor and Business Operations Director Toni Lentini-Daniels was nominated for ECHL Executive of the Year, which will be announced separately from the public awards show in a meeting of the league’s Board of Governors. Fletcher Meyers, Sales Associate, was named as a finalist in the “Sales Rookie of the Year” category. It is the second year in a row that the K-Wings had a nominee in this area.
The organization is a finalist for “Marketing Department of the Year”. To criteria for this award is creative and unique marketing campaigns that generate strong social media engagement and impressive walk-up sales numbers. In addition, the team was named a finalist for “Ticket Sales Department of the Year for Year-over-Year Growth”. To be considered for this award, a team must show at least 10% year-over-year growth in ticket sales, including season tickets, groups and walk-up sales.
And finally, the K-Wings are also nominated for one of the biggest award of them all: “Rising Star Award of Excellence”. This award is given to the team who shows the most year-over-year growth in total revenue, including ticket and corporate sales, food and beverage, merchandise and attendance. Kalamazoo showed an improvement in average attendance for the fifth straight season.
Fans can watch the ECHL Awards Show for the first time ever LIVE on the league’s Facebook page at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24.
On Tuesday, the K-Wings announced their season-ending roster. Goaltender: Jake Hildebrand; Defensemen : Cory Dunn, Ian Edmondson, Tyler Ganly, Eric Kattelus, Will Petschenig, Matt VanVoorhis, Ben Wilson; Forwards: Bryan Basilico, Kyle Blaney, Zach Diamantoni, Austin Farley, Matt Iacopelli, Justin Kovacs, Logan Lambdin, Boston Leier, Spencer Naas, Garret Ross, Brennan Sanford, Justin Taylor.
This list does not include players that had an NHL or AHL contract at the end of the season.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen