|September 27, 2012 - Mike Modugno
Director of Public Relations and Broadcaster
Kalamazoo, MI- The Kalamazoo Wings, proud member of the ECHL, three-time defending North Division Champions and National Hockey League affiliate to the Vancouver Canucks, and American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves announce the signings of forwards Dustin Cloutier (cloo-tee-AY), Eric Kattelus(cat-elle-us) and Aaron Schmit; per team policy, the terms of the contracts are undisclosed.
A second-year pro, Cloutier returns to Kalamazoo for his first full season with the K-Wings.
Cloutier joined the K-Wings last year after starting the season in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) with the Augusta RiverHawks, where he posted 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) in 20 games with the RiverHawks.
Cloutier's productivity continued with Kalamazoo, as the native of Berkley, Michigan notched 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 45 games.
"His (Cloutier) work-ethic earned him every minute of ice time he received last season," said Nick Bootland, K-Wings director of hockey operation/head coach. "If he can pick up where he left off from a season ago, we expect him to push for an even larger role this season."
Proving he can score in bunches; Cloutier earned his first three points (2 goals, 1 assist) as a K-Wing in his third-game with the team on December 27th against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Cloutier was also the first member of the team to record a hat trick last season, lighting the lamp three times on March 18th against the Toledo Walleye.
Before turning pro, Cloutier was a four-year standout at Bentley University.
Returning with Cloutier will be Kattelus, who was one of the K-Wings most versatile players. Spending time at forward and defense, Kattelus was the team's Kalsee Credit Union Unsung Hero recipient posting 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) in 68 games.
Possessing one of the most memorable highlights of the season, Kattelus established a K-Wings' ECHL record for quickest goal in a game and second quickest overall scoring seven seconds into last year's Pink Ice Game versus the Cyclones.
"No matter what position he played last year, he was one of our best players," said Bootland. "His effort a season-ago moves him into a position to be one of our top six forwards."
Prior to turning pro, Kattelus was a four-year standout for Michigan Tech University and played two seasons of Junior hockey. In 2005-06, Kattelus was named the NAHL Rookie of the Year, racking up 75 points (35 goals, 40 assists) for the Bismarck Bobcats. A year later, Eric helped Indiana Ice to the semifinal of the USHL Clark Cup playoffs
Similar to Kattelus, Schmit is a player that is familiar to playing multiple positions. A defenseman growing up, Schmit moved to right wing during his junior season at Ferris State University.
The switch of positions didn't go unnoticed by the Bulldogs, as Schmit was selected that season as the team's Steve Banonis Memorial Most Improved Player and Scholar-Athlete Award winner.
"In college, he (Schmit) was a big physical reliable forward," said Bootland. "Watching him play in college and examining his skill set, we expect him to be a better pro."
Capping off his collegiate career on a high-note, the native of Grafton, Wisconsin contributed to Ferris State's most memorable seasons in school history, helping the Bulldogs reach their first-ever NCAA Frozen Four.
The addition of Cloutier, Kattelus and Schmit gives the K-Wings 13 players signed for the upcoming 2012-13 season which will commence on Friday, October 12th on the road against the Fort Wayne Komets. The K-Wings will begin the home portion of its schedule against the Komets a week later at Wings Stadium on Friday, October 19th with a 7:30 p.m. face-off.
Also signed for this season are forwards Aaron Clarke, Kory Karlander, Brett Lysak (Lasik), Nick Sirota (sir-OH-tah) and Justin Taylor. In addition, the K-Wings have also signed defenseman Joe Charlebois (SHAR-la-bois), Sam Ftorek (fah-TORE-ick), Kyle Page and Elgin Reid, along with goaltender Joel Martin.
Single-game and season tickets for the upcoming 2012-2013 season are on sale at the Wings Stadium Ticket Office. To charge tickets by phone, please call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information about the signing of Dustin Cloutier, Eric Kattelus and Aaron Schmit, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at (269) 226-0384.