Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kalamazoo signs Elich and ex-Wildcat

The Kalamazoo Wings announced the signings of forward Matt Elich and defenseman John Miller today.

Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round (61st overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Elich began his professional career with the Lightning's former IHL affiliate, the Detroit Vipers. Impressing his parent club in his rookie year, Elich was called up to Tampa Bay, seeing action in eight games.

In his nine-year career, Elich has made his presence felt, recording 217 points in 398 career games.

“If he (Elich) plays to his ability, we will have one of the dynamic offenses in the IHL,” said Kalamazoo GM Wade Welsh. “Adding Matt to the already established forwards we have signed gives us incredible depth and experience up front.”

A seasoned veteran, the 2007-08 campaign will be the ninth in Elich’s career. Spending last season overseas in Europe, Elich last played in North America during the 2005-06 season, when he split the year in the United Hockey League with both the Flint Generals and Roanoke Valley Vipers, averaging nearly a point a night.

Elich, a native of Grosse Pointe, played four seasons of Junior A hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, including 2 1/2 years with the Windsor Spitfires.

A rookie defenseman, Miller initiated himself to professional hockey by playing six games with the Lubbock Cotton Kings of the Central Hockey League and 12 games in the Division 2 League in Sweden with Boro/Vetanda. Miller adapted to life in Sweden racking up 11 points (six goals, five assists) in just 12 games.

“He has the potential to elevate his game and become a solid defenseman in our league,” said Welsh. “With limited opportunity last year, he proved he will make the most of his time on the ice.”

Before turning pro, Miller was a four-year standout at Northern Michigan University, preceded by a season of Junior A hockey in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers.

The addition of Elich and Miller gives the K-Wings 15 players signed for the upcoming 2007-08 season.


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