|August 28, 2013 - Mike Modugno
Director of Public Relations and Broadcaster
Kalamazoo, MI- The roster of the Kalamazoo Wings continues to grow as the team has signed defensemen Joe Sova (SOE-va), Brandon Martell, and forwards Ray Kaunisto (ka-NIS-toe) and Anthony Maiani (MY-ah-knee).
A mobile defenseman with plenty of size, Sova joins the K-Wings after splitting last season in the ECHL with the Reading Royals and the San Francisco Bulls.
Two seasons ago, Sova spent a majority of the season with the K-Wings. A prospect of the New Jersey Devils, Sova was traded at the NHL trade deadline to the Carolina Hurricanes. After the trade, Sova spent the remainder of the regular season in the American Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers. Following the regular season Sova headed back to the ECHL to lend a helping hand to the Florida Everblades in capturing the 2011-2012 Kelly Cup.
“Joe has played some of his best professional hockey in a K-Wings uniform,” said Nick Bootland, director of hockey operations/head coach. “We (K-Wings) know he spent a lot of time during the off-season preparing himself by finding more ways to contribute."
A native of Berwyn, Illinois, Sova spent three seasons playing collegiate hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, totaling 58 points (13 goals, 45 assists).
Before heading to college, Sova played three seasons of junior hockey in the USHL, including the 2007-08 season when he was a member of the USHL champions, Omaha Lancers.
Joining Sova on the blue-line will be Brandon Martell. Martell, who played the final three games of last season with the K-Wings, is entering his first full season of professional hockey.
Martell was a four-year standout as well as a three-time Scholar Athlete at Ohio State University. The defenseman was also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
“Brandon showed plenty of potential in his short time with the K-Wings,” said Bootland. “We (K-Wings) are excited to watch him grow in his first full pro season.”
Prior to going to Ohio State University, Martell played two seasons of junior hockey, including the 2008-09 season, when he was a member of the North American Hockey League’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs, where he posted 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 46 games and earned a spot in the NAHL Prospect Tournament.
Adding some experience up front, the K-Wings have added forward Ray Kaunisto. A four-year pro, Kaunisto played last year in the ECHL with the Colorado Eagles notching 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) in 53 games.
Over the past three seasons, Kaunisto has played 135 out of his 188 games in the AHL, primarily with the Manchester Monarchs and has reached the playoffs every single year.
“Ray is a fluid skater that plays gritty,” said Bootland. “His big frame allows him to create space for others and himself.”
A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Kaunisto stayed close to home for college. Kaunisto played four seasons at Northern Michigan University. Following his senior season, Kaunisto signed an entry-level deal with the Los Angeles Kings.
Before heading to college, Kaunisto played three seasons of junior hockey, including the 2004-05 season, where he recorded 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) for the Soo Indians. Martell finished second on his team in scoring and was selected to the NAHL’s All-Rookie Team.
Another new face to the K-Wings roster will be Anthony Maiani. A third-year pro, Maiani found his scoring groove last season in the Central Hockey League with the Allen Americans.
Maiani posted 55 points (17 goals, 38 assists) in 60 regular season contests for the Americans. Continuing to produce in the playoffs, Maiani registered seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 13 games to help Allen capture the CHL championship.
Two seasons ago, Maiani spent his rookie season in the ECHL splitting time with the Colorado Eagles, South Carolina Stingrays and Chicago Express.
“Anthony possesses a lot of speed and anticipates the play,” said Bootland. “Last season, he demonstrated a great scoring touch and contributed on a championship team.”
Coming to Kalamazoo will give the native of Shelby Township, Michigan a chance to play hockey in his home state.
Before turning pro, Maiani played collegiate hockey at the University of Denver. He also played junior hockey in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers.
With the Pioneers, Maiani led the team in points and assists during his senior year. Maiani received the Bob Martin Memorial Award for Community Service. Maiani was also named to the WCHA All-Academic and WCHA Final Five All-Tournament Teams.
The addition of Sova, Martell, Kaunisto and Maiani gives the K-Wings seven players signed for the upcoming 2013-14 season. The K-Wings 40th Anniversary season will commence on Saturday, October 19th at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana against the Evansville IceMen.
The K-Wings will begin the home portion of their schedule a week later. On Saturday, October 26th the K-Wings and IceMen will face-off at Wings Stadium for Kalamazoo’s home opener, during the 10th Annual Orange Ice Game. Fans are encouraged to dress in costumes and participate in Halloween festivities.
Season and flexi-plan tickets for the upcoming 40th Anniversary season of K-Wings hockey are currently on sale at the K-Wings front office. Fans can purchase their tickets during regular business hours by calling a K-Wings Ticket Representative at (269) 743-6011.
Also signed for this season are forward Justin Taylor and defensemen Sam Ftorek (fah-TORE-ick) and Elgin Reid.
For more information about the today’s signings, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at (269) 226-0384.