K-Wings Keep Building, Add Betker and Murphy
Kalamazoo, MI - The Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, kept building the roster on Thursday morning, signing defenseman Ben Betker and forward Wade Murphy.
Betker joins the K-Wings after finishing up an NHL entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. A sixth round draft pick in 2013 (158th overall), Betker played 42 games for the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, last season. Over three professional seasons the blue liner has appeared in 140 professional games, including 86 in the AHL. Before getting to Kalamazoo, Betker will join the Vancouver Canucks when they open training camp on Friday, September 14.
"There's a lot of opportunity within the organization at all levels," said Betker. "Heading into Vancouver's training camp I know the odds are stacked against me but I'm just trying to turn as many heads as I can. I'm excited about this opportunity and this season."
The 6'6", 227 lb. defenseman played three seasons of junior hockey with the Everett Silvertips (WHL) prior to turning pro. He rounded out his junior career being named an alternate captain in his final season.
"He's a young defenseman with tremendous upside and size," said head coach Nick Bootland. "Betker is a guy who is constantly working towards the ultimate goal of playing in the National Hockey League, and we're looking forward to having him."
Murphy, 24, split his last season between the Worcester Railers and Greenville Swamp Rabbits suiting up in 52 games. The forward finished off his rookie campaign with 24 points (6g, 18a).
"Wade adds some good depth to our forward group," said Bootland. "He uses his speed and isn't afraid to go to the dirty areas, playing with a feistiness in his game that makes him tough to play against."
A seventh round draft pick of the Nashville Predators in 2013, Murphy spent two years at the University of North Dakota before transferring to Arizona State to round out his college career. In 66 NCAA games the Victoria, BC native tallied 24 points (9g, 15a).
"When I did my research about the organization as a whole I heard nothing but great things about the team and the town," said Murphy. "For me it was an easy fit. There wasn't any kind of downside for me coming to Kalamazoo and I'm excited to get started."
With Murphy and Betker signed, Kalamazoo now has 12 players under contract for the upcoming season.
Kalamazoo Wings single game and season tickets are available now! More information can be gathered at www.kwings.com/seasontickets.
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