|October 2, 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 bench staff that will join Nick Bootland, director of hockey operations/head coach during the 2012-13 season.
For the first-time since the 1999-00 season, when Kalamazoo was in the original International Hockey League, the K-Wings will have two suits on the bench, as the team has hired Josh Harrold as assistant coach.
Harrold joins the K-Wings after spending the past two seasons as the head coach of the Cleveland Lumberjacks Junior A Under 18 and 16 Team.
Before his tenure with the Lumberjacks, Harrold worked as the assistant coach with the Alpena Icediggers of the NAHL and as an assistant coach of the Ohio Blue Jackets of the USHL.
“Josh has been successful early in his coaching career and we are fortunate to have him on our staff,” said Bootland. “With his defensive expertise, Josh will be able to further the development of our defensemen.”
Having a familiar face in the lineup, Harrold was a teammate of Sam Ftorek during the 2000-01 season, when the duo played in the ECHL with the Mobile Mysticks. Harrold is also the older brother of Peter Harrold, a defenseman for the New Jersey Devils.
Returning for his eighth season as equipment manager in Kalamazoo, will be Eric Bechtol. Before coming to Kalamazoo, Bechtol spent nine seasons with the St. Louis Blues as their Assistant Equipment Manager. In his tenure with the Blues, Bechtol has worked with some of the sport’s greatest players and served as a member of the 2001 All-Star Game.
Bechtol received the all-star call two seasons ago; as he was selected represent the K-Wings during the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic, presented by CCM in Bakersfield, California.
“A true professional in his craft, Eric is one of the premiere equipment managers in any level of hockey,” said Bootland. “Eric makes sure all players’ needs are met, while keeping our team within our budget.”
Besides working with the Blues, Bechtol spent time in the Central Hockey League with the Fort Worth Fire, which was then coached by former K-Wings head coach Bill McDonald.
Bechtol is a Kalamazoo native that has grown up at Wings Stadium. Eric’s relationship with Wings Stadium dates back to when he played with the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA). Besides playing in KOHA, Bechtol also was a stick boy for the K-Wings for five years.
Eric went to Loy Norrix High School, where he played varsity hockey. After graduating from Loy Norrix, Bechtol continued his education at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
Completing the bench staff will be Scott Allison, ATC, who will be the K-Wings athletic trainer. Allison, served as the K-Wings athletic trainer and equipment manager from 2000-2003, when the team was the in the United Hockey League.
Prior to becoming the head athletic trainer, Allison was a stick boy for the organization from 1999-00.
“Besides being qualified, Scott is a person that is very familiar with our organization and our values,” said Bootland. “He has a solid background in athletics and we are excited to have him back on our team.”
After leaving the K-Wings in 2003, Allison went to Bronson Lakeview Hospital in Paw Paw, Michigan for six years working in the rehab facility unit.
For the past three years, Allison has worked at Holland Hospital, where he was contracted to West Ottawa High school to be in charge of over 900 athletes a year and 16 different sports.
Scott went to Vicksburg, High School and continued his education at Western Michigan University earning his degree in Education Science.
The final members of the bench staff won’t be seen on the bench, but will have a critical role in keeping the players in shape. With the approach of improving the K-Wings off-ice staff, the team has hired Matt Crowley and Brianne Fix as strength and conditioning coaches.
Both Crowley and Fix work at the Kalamazoo Athletic Club, which is located downtown in the Radisson Plaza Hotel Kalamazoo. The premiere health club in southwest Michigan is under the umbrella of the Greenleaf Hospitality Group, which owns Wings Stadium and the Kalamazoo Wings.
“Matt and Brianne will help us keep our players in the optimal playing condition,” said Bootland. “This is a great opportunity to not only cross-promote with one of our sister properties, but more importantly work with two of the best physical trainers in the area.”
The K-Wings will begin preseason action this on Friday, October 5th with a 7:30 p.m. face-off at Wings West versus the Toledo Walleye. Tickets for that preseason game are only $5.
The K-Wings and Walleye will meet again on Saturday, October 6th for a 9 p.m. encounter at the Huntington Center in Toledo.
Fans that can’t make it to either preseason game, can still listen to both contests on the radio or on line. Both preseason clashes can be heard live at 92.5 WZUU or at kwings.com starting 20 minutes prior to face-off with the Kalsee Credit Union Pregame Show.
Single-game and season tickets for the upcoming 2012-2013 season are on sale at the Wings Stadium Ticket Office. Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday’s. To charge tickets by phone, please call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
Tickets for all K-Wings home games are $13 and $17.50 for adults and only $7 for kids ages 14 and under. The price for all K-Wings premium night games (all colored ice games and New Year’s Eve game) are just $1 more.
Fans can save money by purchasing K-Wings single-game tickets in advance because tickets purchased on the day of a game increase by $2 (adults only).
For more information about the K-Wings bench staff, please contact Mike Modugno, Director of Public Relations and Broadcaster at (269) 226-0384.