Wichita, KS (Sept. 11th) - 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 Joe Widmar and defenseman Garrett Schmitz for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
"Widmar had great success in the SPHL last season and earned a call-up to the ECHL with Atlanta," commented Head Coach Bruce Ramsay. "He proved he could compete and play full time at this level as he helped Atlanta through their strong run last year."
Widmar, 24, enters his third year as a pro. A native of Northbrook, Illinois, the 6-foot-1, 212-pound center spent the majority of last season with the Atlanta Gladiators. He also saw time with the Fort Wayne Komets and the Southern Professional Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen. He registered 18 points (7g, 11a) in 31 games for the Glads. He also totaled 22 points (4g, 18a) in 15 games for the Rivermen.
During his rookie campaign in 2017-18, Widmar was named to the SPHL All-Rookie Team, tallying 40 points (11g, 29a) in 36 games. He also earned a call-up to the Komets and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits that same season.
Prior to turning pro, Widmar played two seasons at UMass-Amherst where he was a teammate of Thunder forward Steven Iacobellis. In his two seasons for the Minutemen, he scored four goals and totaled 12 points in 57 career games.
Schmitz, 26, played his rookie season last year for the SPHL's Birmingham Bulls. A native of Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound defenseman was named to the SPHL All-Rookie Team and First All-Star Team. He led all defenseman with four game-winning goals and tied for third on the Bulls with a +15 rating. In 50 games, he recorded 33 points (10g, 23a) and added four points (1g, 3a) in eight playoff games. Schmitz also earned a call-up to the Indy Fuel where he appeared in two games.
"Garrett had an outstanding rookie campaign last season. He's a smooth skating, great first pass defenseman who I believe can play at this level. He was named to both the All-Rookie and First All-Star Team and also was called up to Indy."
Prior to turning pro, Schmitz played a four-year career at Hamline University (NCAA D-III). He collected 30 points (12g, 18a) in 99 career games.
The Thunder will open the season at home on Friday and Saturday, October 11th and 12th and will host the 2020 Warrior Hockey/ECHL All-Star Classic, presented by Toyota, on Wednesday January 22nd, 2020. Get your tickets now for the league's annual showcase that features some of the best young talent across the ECHL.
Season tickets for the 2019-20 season are on sale now. Get your seats for just $34 per month. All it takes is a $1 deposit per seat to reserve yours today. To learn more, click here or contact a Thunder representative at the office today!
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