Monday, the Kalamazoo Wings announced a three-year contract extension with head coach Nick Bootland that has him under contract through the 2019-20 season. Prior to beginning his coaching career, Bootland was a forward for the Guelph Storm of the OHL and played professionally in the AHL, ECHL, UHL, and IHL for the Hershey Bears, Cincinnati Cyclones, Cleveland Barons, Columbus Stars, and Kalamazoo Wings.
He spent his last three seasons as a player as the Captain of the Kalamazoo Wings scoring 78, 85, and 82 points with 39, 40, and 46 goals over his final three seasons. After retiring, he joined the K-Wings staff as Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach. Bootland is the winning-est head coach in K-Wings history with 314 victories and has been their head coach since the 2008-09 season.
In addition, the K-Wings announced their new assistant coach Joel Kwiatkowski (pronounced quiet-kowski). Kwiatkowski was a defenseman and an 8th round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 1996 and just retired after the 2015-16 season. After a WHL career with the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars, he played 18 years professionally. He played in the AHL, IHL, NHL, KHL, NLA, and SHL. He appeared in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, and Atlanta Thrashers. Since 2008-09, he has played in Europe for Severstal Cherepovets and SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, SC Bern and HC Fribourg-Gotteron in the Swiss NLA, and spent last season in Sweden with MODO Hockey in the SHL.
As a defenseman, Kwiatkowski will bring a different area of experience from Bootland and together hopefully they will bring success to Kalamazoo as they get ready for the year. Kalamazoo is the Lightning’s ECHL affiliate and with so many AHL free agent signings this season, it’s fair to expect that the Lightning will be sending some prospects to Kalamazoo for development with these two coaches.