Kalamazoo, MI- Stadium Management Company (SMC), which owns the Wings Stadium Complex, Wings West and the Kalamazoo Wings announce that the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings will cease operations following the conclusion of the 2012-13 North American Hockey League (NAHL) season. Tough economic conditions in this small marketplace, already home to both Western Michigan University Hockey and the Kalamazoo Wings made business success impossible to achieve.
SMC will continue to operate Wings West in a world-class manner and continue to enhance and improve this outstanding facility for user groups and patrons. Wings West will continue to host thousands of hours of ice time from the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA), who will be celebrating its 50th season in 2014-15, West Michigan Hounds, high school hockey, adult league hockey, speed skating and Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association.
“SMC will continue to deliver exceptional experiences for all of our user groups and patrons and we will strive to make both facilities the unmatched choice for entertainment on and off the ice in southwest Michigan,” said SMC General Manager Jim Burlew.
Reestablished prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, the Jr. K-Wings are in their second season as a member of the NAHL. Prior to today’s announcement, SMC notified the NAHL of its decision to cease operations after this season and to sell the junior franchise to another ownership group looking for membership in the league.
The Jr. K-Wings will continue to operate as normal through the conclusion of the season.
“Everyone at SMC is extremely proud of the accomplishments of Marc Fakler, as well as his staff and players over the past two seasons and we’re looking for a strong finish as the Jr-Wings head into the playoffs,” said Burlew. “We also extend our sincere gratitude to the housing families and to our volunteers that welcomed our players to the community and helped in our game-day operations.”
Fakler has been exceptional during his two years in charge of the Jr. K-Wings. Finishing second in the North Division, one point behind the Port Huron Fighting Falcons, last season; the Jr-Wings are once again in the hunt for the North Division title. Kalamazoo is currently tied with the Jamestown IronMen for second place in the division.
Not going unnoticed by the NAHL, Fakler’s accomplishments have been rewarded, as he has been named an assistant coach for the North Team in the NAHL Prospects game for the past two seasons.
Developing players on and off the ice, Fakler has helped his players get noticed by colleges, as 13 players, including five from this year’s team, have made commitments to continue their playing careers in college.
Today’s announcement to cease operation of the Jr. K-Wings will not affect the Kalamazoo Wings, who will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary next season.
Stadium Management Company owns the Wings Stadium Complex, the Kalamazoo Wings hockey team, Wings West and the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings hockey team. The Wings Stadium Complex is comprised of three buildings; Wings Stadium seats more than 5,100 fans for K-Wings home games and more than 6,000 people for concerts and other stage events. The Annex seats 1,367 for ice events and can hold up to 2,850 for non-ice events such as car, boat, and trade shows. The Cube plays host to both ice and non-ice events. Wings West is comprised of two ice sheets plus Old Burdick’s Restaurant at Wings West. The Borgess Ice Rink can accommodate more than 1,200 fans for Jr. K-Wings games. The Olympic Rink plays host to both ice and non-ice events. Both facilities are available for rental and feature numerous catering and meeting opportunities.
For more information about today’s announcement, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at (269) 226-0384.