Wichita, KS (July 25th) - The Wichita Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, AHL's Bakersfield Condors and powered by Toyota, announced today the signing of forward Matt Schmalz for the 2018-19 season.
"Matt is a big, strong power forward that has a good shot and touch around the net," commented Head Coach Malcolm Cameron. "He creates opportunities with his size and reach. We expect him to expand upon his excellent rookie season." Schmalz, 22, had a solid rookie year last season for the Manchester Monarchs. He was assigned to Manchester in late October by the American Hockey League's Ontario Reign and notched 40 points (23g, 17a) in 59 games for the Monarchs. A native of Dunnville, Ontario, the 6-foor-6, the 218-pound forward is a former fifth round selection of the Los Angeles Kings (#134) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. "Coming out of junior, I was a little timid because I only played against players within a couple years of my age," stated Schmalz. "I've been to NHL camps so that set me up for it even though I knew it was a huge step. Being in Manchester was good for my first year as a pro. They had a great system that allowed me to be prepared for every game every night against men older and stronger than me." "With that said, I know Wichita has the same mentality with their players and system to allow the team be prepared for every game. I got the first-year jitters out and now I'm extremely excited to get this season started with the Thunder and can't wait for September." Prior to turning pro, Schmalz logged 308 career games in the Ontario Hockey League between Kitchener, Sudbury and Owen Sound. He made his AHL debut with the Reign on March 30th, 2016 against the San Jose Barracuda and scored his first professional goal on April 16th against San Diego. He finished his junior career in 2016-17 with the Owen Sound Attack, notching 31 points (16g, 15a) in 62 games. Season tickets for the 2018-19 campaign are on sale now. Get your seats for just $15 per month. All it takes is a $1 down per seat to reserve yours today. To learn more, click here or contact a Thunder representative at the office today! Follow along with us on our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter (@wichita_thunder), Snapchat (wichthunder), Instagram (Wichita_Thunder) and LinkedIn.