Wichita, KS (August 26th) - The Wichita Thunder, proud member of the ECHL and powered by Toyota, announced this afternoon that they have agreed to terms with defensemen Dan Milan and Brandon Martell for the 2015-16 season.
"Dan Milan emerged as a leader for us last year," said Head Coach Kevin McClelland. "His never back down attitude is something that other players feed off of. He is a welcomed addition back for another season. Brandon is a big body who skates well and can move the puck. He was solid in his time against us in Rapid City."
Milan, 23, will enter his second year in Wichita and fourth as a pro. A native of Detroit, Michigan, the 6-foot-3, 206-pound blueliner set new career highs last season in assists (16), points (17) and penalty minutes (178). Milan signed an entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning out of Juniors in 2011. Last season, he was called-up twice to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League (AHL). Prior to turning pro, Milan played 130 games in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats and Victoriaville Tigres. He earned All-Rookie Team honors in 2010-11 when he tallied 38 points (14g, 24a) in Moncton.
"I couldn't be more excited to begin another season with what has grown to be one of my favorite cities," commented Milan. "I've played in every city in the league and when I say Wichita has the best fans in the league I mean it. The fans are a big reason why I decided to come back. It wasn't just the fans that helped make my decision, but everyone that lives in and around the city. I can't wait to get back and get going."
Martell, 26, enters his third full season as a pro and first in Wichita. A native of Andover, Minnesota, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman played in 17 games last season for the Rapid City Rush before being traded to the Evansville IceMen in December. After playing a four-year career at the Ohio State University (NCAA DI), Martell played three games in 2012-13 with the Kalamazoo Wings. Overall, he's appeared in 125 games in the ECHL collecting 28 points (12g, 16a) and 75 penalty minutes. The former Buckeye received Academic All-Big Ten honors twice during his time at Ohio State.
"I'm excited to be a part of the Wichita Thunder this year," stated Martell. "I've heard nothing but great things about the organization and coaching staff. It will be a privilege to play for Coach McClelland this season. He has a phenomenal reputation and he knows how to put a winning team together. The Thunder were a skilled and tough team to play against last season and I am looking forward to playing on the same side of the puck this year. I can't wait to get the season rolling."
Wichita will host the Tulsa Oilers for an exhibition game on Saturday, October 10th at 4 p.m. at the Wichita Ice Center. Tickets are on sale now for just $12 and can be purchased at the Thunder office only.
Season tickets are on sale now. Don't delay! Call the Wichita Thunder office and visit with a season ticket rep today to learn more. Stay up-to-date on all the news during the off-season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.
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About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 28th season in 2015-16. There have been 569 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 28 who made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 29 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com.