On Thursday October 15th, the Kalamazoo Wings announced the re-signing of American goaltender Jake Hildebrand. The two sides agreed to terms on a standard player contract for the upcoming season.
Prior to making the jump pro, Hildebrand, from Butler, Pennsylvania, played collegiate hockey with the Michigan State Spartans. Spending four years with the men’s hockey program, he compiled a record of 45-70-14. While his win/loss record may have been tough, his save percentage was very impressive, ending his career with a .921 average.
Hildebrand has spent parts of five seasons at the professional level in the ECHL. During, he’s played with the Allen Americans, Tulsa Oilers, Indy Fuel and Kalamazoo Wings. Over the course of the last two seasons, the backstop has racked up 37 wins along with 36 losses and six overtime/shootout losses.
Hildebrand has seen plenty of net time for the K-Wings hockey club the last two seasons. As such, he’s made 2,252 saves while logging a total of 4,743 minutes.
In a statement from the Kelly Cup champion, he said on Thursday upon signing his contract, “I couldn’t be more excited to be back in Kalamazoo for a third year. Between the city, the fans and the organization, there isn’t another place I would rather be.”
As for the thoughts of Nick Bootland, head coach of the Kalamazoo Wings, he said of the team’s latest signing, “Jake has developed so well under Joel Martin. We have challenged him to work on his condition level and when presented with a challenge, he exceeds our expectations. He has become very consistent for us.”
Joel Martin is the team’s assistant coach and was very impressive prior, spending time as the team’s goaltender. He played with Kalamazoo for six seasons from 2012-2018.
On Friday October 9th, the league confirmed their return to play plans as it pertains to the upcoming season. As such, 13 teams will play a full schedule, while the other 12 will play 62, pending jurisdictional approval. The K-Wings fall under the condensed category that will see play kick off on the 15th of January.