Kalamazoo, MI- The Kalamazoo Wings, proud member of the ECHL, two-time defending North Division Champions and reigning Eastern Conference Champions and affiliate of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders and American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, announce the signings of forwards Brandon Svendsen (sa-FVEND-son), Dean Strong and Darryl Bootland; per team policy, the terms of the contracts will be undisclosed.
Entering his third full season of professional hockey, Svendsen is returning to Kalamazoo for his second season with the K-Wings.
Last season, Svendsen started the season in the training camp of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) and ended up playing 59 games, notching 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) with the Sound Tigers.
“Svendsen is a dynamic skater that can play in every situation” said Nick Bootland, director of hockey operations/head coach. “He’s a good puck handler and for his stature, he plays bigger than he is.”
In just 10 regular season games with Kalamazoo, Svendsen was electric, averaging over a point-a-night registering 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists). Svendsen kept his scoring touch in the playoffs earning 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 19 games for Kalamazoo.
The native of Mercer, California recorded his first professional hat trick last season on November 3rd against the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Svendsen started his tenure as a K-Wing by going on a nine-game point streak from 10/23/10-04/02/11 and capped off a stellar campaign by tying a playoff-high for plus/minus (+4) on April 15th against the Reading Royals in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
After graduating from Bowling Green University four years ago, Svendsen took his talents to pro ranks by joining the Idaho Steelheads in 2008 and then the Elmira Jackals a year later. After a rookie camp with the Ottawa Senators, Ottawa signed him to an AHL contract in 2009-2010. Svendsen played over 70 games for the Binghamton Senators.
During the 2004-05 season, while in juniors, Svendsen helped guide the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in capturing the USHL championship.
Also returning to Kalamazoo is forward Dean Strong. Strong finished last season with the K-Wings after starting the season overseas with Crimmitschau ETC (2.GBUN), where he recorded 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in 25 games. A third-year pro, Strong has played a portion of both his previous seasons in Kalamazoo.
“He (Strong) is a player that takes great care of himself and comes totally prepared to play,” said Bootland. “Dean is coming off two major injuries, but last season he proved when healthy he can be a point-a-night guy.”
The K-Wings’ AT&T Rookie of the Year award winner two years ago, Strong kept up his memorable play in his sophomore year as a K-Wing, earning seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in six regular season games and 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in 15 games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
During the postseason, Strong tied a K-Wings’ playoff high for points in a single-game with three (2 goals, 1 assist) on April 22nd versus Reading and went on a five-game point streak from 04/22/11-05/07/11.
Before turning pro, Strong spent the past four seasons playing collegiate hockey for the University of Vermont.
Strong did not miss a game in four seasons with the Catamounts and served as Vermont’s (Hockey East) captain in his senior season. A leader on and off the ice, Strong was awarded the Semans Trophy, presented to the senior male and female student-athletes who have demonstrated a high level of athletic achievement and who earned the respect and regard from his/her fellow students for leadership, loyalty, and service to Vermont.
A well decorated player, Strong won Hockey East’s Len Ceglarski Sportsmanship Award, as well as several team honors in his years with the Catamounts.
Playing in Kalamazoo during the 2009-10 season, right-winger Darryl Bootland is set to return to the K-Wings fold.
Last season, Bootland was a member of the Odessa Jackalopes of the Central Hockey League, where he posted 23 points and logged 161 minutes in penalties in 56 games.
A former 8th round selection (252nd overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft of the Colorado Avalanche, Bootland has played 32 games in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders.
“Darryl has made a commitment to be with us the whole season and was very good for us the last time he was a K-Wing,” said Bootland. “He is a gritty player that makes the players around him play bigger.”
After starting his career in the ECHL with the Toledo Storm, Bootland has played a majority of his career in the NHL, AHL and Europe.
During his last stint with the K-Wings, Bootland earned 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) and rung up 90 PIMS in 25 games.
Before turning pro, Bootland spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Barrie Colts and Toronto’s St. Michael’s Majors.
Bootland is the younger sibling of K-Wings’ head coach. During the 2009-10 season, the uniting of the Bootland’s marked the first-time in K-Wings’ history, brother coached a sibling.
The addition of Bootland, Strong and Svendson gives the K-Wings seven players signed for the upcoming 2011-12 season, which will commence at home on Saturday, October 15th versus the Cincinnati Cyclones. Also signed for next season are forwards Trent Daavettila (daav-UH-till-uh), Kory Karlander, Justin Taylor and defenseman Sam Ftorek (fah-TORE-ick).
Season tickets for the upcoming 2011-2012 season are on sale at the Wings Stadium Ticket Office. Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information about tickets, give the Wings Stadium Ticket Office a call during regular business hours at (269) 345-5101.
For more information about the signing of Darryl Bootland, Dean Strong, and Brandon Svendsen, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at (269) 349-9772, extension 220.