Wichita, KS (August 24th) – The Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League announced Friday that they have added four players to their roster with the signing of defensemen Andrew Martens and Nathan Lutz, goaltender Kevin Regan and forward Matt Boyd.
Martens returns to Wichita after spending the final 13 games last season with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. He begins his eighth season of pro hockey and third in the Air Capital. Martens won the CHL Defenseman of the Year Award in 2010-11 after recording 54 points in 65 games. The Friendswood, TX native was named to the 2011-12 CHL All-Star Game, but was unable to play after being called-up to the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL that same day. Last season, Martens tallied nine goals and 26 points in just 33 games with the Thunder.
“It is great to be coming back to Wichita,” commented Martens. “Great organization, great coaching staff and great fan support from the community. It’s exciting to be heading back with a group who made it to the Finals and have great determination to bring a championship back to the city. I am hoping to be a part in the puzzle to help achieve that goal.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Martens began his pro career in 2005 with the ECHL's Greenville Grrrowl. He spent two years with the Johnstown Chiefs from 2006-2008, scoring 68 points in 142 games with a +5 rating and 123 penalty minutes. He split time in the ECHL (Ontario) and AHL (Manitoba, Toronto) in 2008-09, combining for 75 games and 42 points. Prior to turning pro, Martens anchored the blue line at Bemidji State University to two consecutive CHA Championships. In just three seasons, Martens tallied 40 points in 101 games at BSU.
Lutz, 34, returns to the CHL after spending one season with the Chicago Express of the ECHL. He was the first player ever signed by Chicago and served as a Player Assistant. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Lutz played with the Mississippi RiverKings during the 2010-11 season, where he led the team in assists with 38 and tied for fifth in scoring by defensemen in the CHL with 48. He was also named as a starter to the 2010-11 CHL All Star Game that same season.
“I am really excited to come and be a part of a great organization and do whatever I can to help the team be as successful as we can be,” said Lutz. “I have heard nothing but great things about the city and also the fantastic fans. I am counting down the days until I get to put that Thunder jersey on.”
A native of Mistatim, Saskatchewan, Lutz played at Iona College before turning pro. He spent three seasons at Iona from 1999-02, accumulating 24 goals and 87 points in 104 games. Lutz led all defenseman in goals and points in three consecutive seasons. Lutz enters his 10th season of pro hockey, having spent time in the AHL (113 games), ECHL (172 games), UHL (194) and overseas.
Regan, 28, returns to North America after playing in Italy the past two years. A ninth round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, Regan enters his fifth season of professional hockey. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Regan was an unanimous selection as the 2008 Hockey East Player of the Year and also won the Walter Brown Award for best American college hockey player in New England during his highly successful career at University of New Hampshire.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to play for Wichita this season,” commented Regan. “Coach McClelland has had great success with the Thunder and I am looking forward to competing for a championship. I have heard nothing but good things about the organization and the town and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
A native of South Boston, Massachusetts, Regan is the all-time leader in save percentage in Hockey East conference games (.932). In addition, he was the All-Hockey East First Team goaltender in 2008 and won Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week seven times. He also set the UNH record for single-season save percentage (.935) and was the first UNH goaltender to win 20 games in two consecutive seasons. From 2004-08, Regan went 50-16-9 with a goals against average of 2.09 in Hockey East play. After graduating, he spent the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons in the AHL (Providence Bruins) and ECHL (Gwinnett Gladiators, Reading Royals, Alaska Aces). The past two seasons, Regan played for Valpellice of the Italian Elite League.
Boyd, 26, played last season with the Laredo Bucks of the CHL. The St. Albert, Alberta native begins his third year as a pro and joins former teammates Neil Trimm, Dave Inman and Torrie Jung in Wichita this upcoming season. Last year, he collected 14 goals and 39 points in 65 games.
“I am excited about coming to Wichita,” said Boyd. “They are coming off a good season last year that fell a little short. I am looking forward to helping the team get back there and compete for a championship.”
Prior to turning pro, Boyd spent a successful four-year collegiate career at St. Norbert’s (NCAA DIII). Boyd rung up 41 goals and totaled 124 points in 112 games at St. Norbert’s. The 6-foot, 190-pound Boyd notched a 17-goal season in his sophomore year, where he ended with 39 points in 32 games and averaged over a point a game in his collegiate career. In 2008, Boyd helped St. Norbert’s to an NCAA Division III National Championship. That same season, he recorded seven straight multi-point games. The next year, his team finished second in the National Tournament. Boyd then turned pro in 2010-11, signing with the Mississippi RiverKings of the CHL and tallied seven goals and 24 points in his rookie season.
Wichita Thunder season tickets for 2012-13 are now on sale. A $50 dollar non-refundable deposit is required for all season tickets. Contact the Wichita Thunder Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at (316) 264-4625 if you are interested in season tickets. Stay up-to-date on all the news this off-season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.