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Kralj Re-Signs With Killer Bees

August 17, 2004 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees News Release

HIDALGO, TX: August 17, 2004 – The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League added their eighth returning member from their inaugural season and their first developmental player for the 2004/2005 season with the re-signing of forward Matic Kralj for the 2004/2005 season.

“This is a big year for Matic and his career,” said Killer Bees Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Tracy Egeland. “He has had two good seasons coming into this year, and now needs to develop his game to be a dominant center on a consistent basis.”

Matic Kralj (muh-teece krawl), a 6’1” 190-pound native of Ljubljana (lew-blee-yaw-nuh), Slovenia, began last season with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild before eventually joining the Killer Bees. He attended the Minnesota Wild Prospect Camp and played on the Wild Prospect Team which won the Centre I.C.E. Tournament (NHL Prospects Tournament). The prospect camp led to an invitation to the Minnesota Wild Training Camp and Kralj skated several days with the Wild before being released. Kralj then joined the Killer Bees via a trade with Lubbock, which sent a future consideration (Mike Rees) to Lubbock. With the Bees, Kralj played in all 64 games and finished second on the squad in points (45) and goals (20). He was the only European born player on the Bees roster and tallied the first empty net goal in team history (10/25/03 @ LUB). Kralj led the team in power play goals (8) and co-led the team with a 6-game point streak and a 3-game goal scoring streak. He also led the team in monthly scoring for October (2g,3a,5pts) and March (2g,4a,6pts), and led the team in monthly goals for November (5) and co-led the team in February goals (7). Kralj had a career high 3-point performance with 2 goals and an assist on 2/15/04 against Austin, which garnered CHL Pointstreak Performance of the Week honors.

The forward began his pro career in 02/03 with the CHL’s Lubbock Cotton Kings, where he played under Killer Bees head coach Tracy Egeland. Kralj went to Lubbock that season on a training camp tryout agreement, but impressed everyone to earn a spot on the squad. He was the CHL’s youngest player at the age of 19 and was one of three Cotton King players to play in all 64 regular season games. In those 64 games, Kralj scored 17 goals and contributed 24 assists for 41 points. He co-led the squad in shorthanded goals (2) and led the team in rookie scoring (41 points). Kralj also converted on a penalty shot, becoming the first player to convert on a penalty shot in Cotton Kings history.

Prior to turning pro, Kralj played junior hockey in Slovenia and in Canada. He began playing in the Slovenia Under 16 League with HK Olimpija in 97/98 and then ventured to North America at the age of 15 to play Canadian Jr. B hockey with the Akwesasne Wolves of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League (EOJHL). Kralj continued playing Jr. B hockey during the 99/00 season but moved to the Sarnia Steeplejack Bees before advancing the following season to the Central Jr. A Hockey League (CJHL). In the CJHL, Kralj skated the 00/01 season with the Cornwall Colts and earned CJHL Rookie All-Star honors and helped lead the Colts to the CJHL title. His final season of juniors (01/02) was split in the CJHL with Cornwall and the Brockville Braves. Kralj’s junior numbers include 105 goals and 122 assists for 227 points in 232 games.

The signing of Kralj currently gives the Killer Bees ten players under contract for the 2004/2005 campaign. He joins goaltender Jeff Levy, defensemen Derek Holland, Sean Gillam, Darcy Smith, Jason Tessier, and forwards Blaz Emersic, Troy Linna, Bill Newson and Ryan Shmyr. Kralj has played in 128 games over his career, which includes 37 goals and 49 assists for 86 points, and qualifies him as a “developmental player.” CHL rules require each team to have at least five players on their squad who have participated in 128 or fewer professional games, and those players are classified as “developmental players.” If you would like to arrange an interview with Matic Kralj or Head Coach Tracy Egeland, please contact Chris Due at the Killer Bees office.

“The Valley of Bees” will swarm the Dodge Arena again in October, as the Killer Bees are currently preparing for their second season. The puck drops October 23rd for the Killer Bees in Austin and the Bees home opener is scheduled for October 29th against the Laredo Bucks. Season tickets and corporate opportunities are now available by calling the Killer Bees office at (956) 843-7825. For more information concerning Killer Bees hockey, please visit their website at

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