Bootland Brothers Clash, Familiar Faces Return this Weekend at Wings Event Center
KALAMAZOO, MI- Gone are the days of competing for an invisible Stanley Cup on the pond for brothers Nick and Darryl Bootland.
Now it's a different piece of hardware- a Kelly Cup- that drives the siblings to be their best and reach the top of the ECHL.
Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20 will see Nick Bootland and the Kalamazoo Wings play host to Darryl and the Colorado Eagles at Wings Event Center for the only two meetings of the season between the brothers.
The two faced each other on a few occasions while both were active as players, but this weekend at Wings Event Center will mark the fourth and fifth time the Bootlands will stare at one another from opposing benches as coach and player. Nick- behind the bench in his neatly-pressed suit and notable, arms-folded stance - will gaze at his younger brother, Darryl- a forward who is easily recognizable with his signature beard and colorful personality- as a hurdle towards Kalamazoo's goal for two weekend wins.
Darryl, the younger of the Bootlands by three years, enters the weekend contests as the ECHL's leader in penalty minutes, and has a reputation as one of the game's best agitators.
"Darryl has made a name and career for getting under people's skin," said former teammate and current Wings' center, Justin Taylor. "He is pretty infectious and the fans here are in a love-to-hate relationship with him."
Bootland is no stranger to Southwest Michigan, as the rugged journeyman spent five seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins from 2002-2007. Bootland earned a reputation quickly upon arrival in Grand Rapids, mainly due to his ability to antagonize the opposition and energize a crowd. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound Bootland amassed 1,164 penalty minutes in 293 games with the Griffins during his stay.
The 14th-year pro also spent the parts of 2009-10 and the entirety of the 2011-12 season with the Kalamazoo Wings, and was able to produce 72 points and 260 penalty minutes in 92 games.
The two teams met for three games last season at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado, with older brother Nick and the Wings holding the edge. Kalamazoo captured two of three games last March in the franchises' first head-to-head meetings.
Darryl Bootland isn't the only former K-Wing that represents the Colorado Eagles, as Trent Daavettila leads the way offensively for the West Division representatives.
Daavettila's offensive prowess has led him to 52 points in 47 games this season, placing him second among all ECHL scorers. The Howell, Michigan native spent four seasons with the Wings from 2008-12, and was an integral part in Kalamazoo's run to the Kelly Cup Final in 2011, leading the league with 28 points during 18 playoff games. Over the course of 211 career games with Kalamazoo, Daavettila registered 221 points on 78 goals and 143 assists.
Friday's game will feature Eric Kattelus wearing his fan-voted ECHL MeiGray Fantasy Team jersey that will be up for auction after the game at www.meigray.com. Joel Martin will be donning his MeiGray Golden Goalie jersey during Friday's game, which will also be up for purchase at www.meigray.com.
Saturday, February 20 celebrates Winterfest at Wings Event Center. The weekend will feature an outdoor tailgate tent as well as a chili cook-off before the 7:00 p.m. game against Colorado. For $8, fans can taste-test and judge the chili competition to help name a winner during the third period of the February 20 game.
Listen to all 72 regular season and post season games on AM 1660 The Fan in Kalamazoo, or online at www.1660thefan.com/listen-live. Live coverage begins fifteen minutes before puck drop with the Flame Tamer Pregame Show.
Single-game tickets are now on sale! Tickets can be purchased at kwings.com or at the Wings Event Center box office. Box office hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. A $2 discount is applied on all tickets purchased before the date of the game. Any student that shows a valid ID can get tickets for just $10.
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