Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fakler hired to guide Jr. K-Wings

The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings announced the hiring of Marc Fakler as general manager and head coach Monday evening.

Fakler, who is currently the associate director of hockey operations/director of player advancement and Bantam Major head coach for the West Michigan Hounds AAA Hockey Club, is no stranger to bench.

For four seasons, Fakler served as assistant coach for Western Michigan University (2006-10) and served for two seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach for Robert Morris University.

With Robert Morris, Fakler was the team’s academic and recruiting coordinator and helped his players earn a collective GPA of 3.1 or above in every semester he was on the staff. Fakler was also responsible for recruiting the leading scorer in history of Robert Morris (Chris Margott).

“We wanted to bring in a general manager and head coach that could handle more than the x’s and o’s” said Paul L. Pickard, president of Stadium Management Co. “The organization received hundreds of resumes and Marc’s philosophy, understanding of what it will take to get players to the collegiate level made him the perfect choice.”

As general manager/head coach, Fakler will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Jr. K-Wings, including recruiting.

“I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to reestablishing the Jr. K-Wings tradition,” said Fakler. “Living in southwest Michigan for several years, I know what hockey means to the area and I know the impact of what this program will have not only to our fans about the players that we can bring in to compete for a championship and to get them on a path to reach the collegiate level.”

Getting adjusted to junior hockey won’t be an issue with Fakler. During the 2001-02 Fakler was assistant general manager and assistant coach for the Compuware Ambassadors of the NAHL. Under Fakler’s tutelage, the Ambassadors captured the NAHL regular season crown, the Robertson Cup (playoff championship) and the Junior A national championship.

The last time southwest Michigan had a junior program of its own was 1988-94. During the 1988-89 season, the team was named the West Michigan Wolves. Following the completion of their inaugural season, the Wolves donned the moniker of the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings because the K-Wings brand is interwoven into the fabric of the community of southwest Michigan.

Pickard was the owner, general manager and head coach of the original Jr. K-Wings team that was also a member of the NAHL. Under the direction of Pickard, the Jr. K-Wings in their six-year existence (1988-94) earned a record of 137-86-25-1-0 and hoisted the Robertson Cup on two separate occasions (1991, 1993).

Even more impressive than the two championships, the original Jr. K-Wings’ developed over 50 players for Division I hockey and three NHL draftees in the six seasons they were in the NAHL.

The Jr. K-Wings will begin play in the 27-team NAHL next September and are the fifth NAHL team to call Michigan home, joining the Michigan Warriors (Flint), Motor City Metal Jackets (Trenton), Port Huron Fighting Falcons and Traverse City North Stars.

The Marc Fakler File

Coaching Background
Assistant Coach, Western Michigan University (CCHA) – NCAA Division I
Assistant Coach, Robert Morris University (CHA) - NCAA Division I
Assistant Coach, Wayne State University (CHA) – NCAA Division I
Assistant General Manager/Assistant Coach, Compuware Ambassadors (NAHL)
Assistant Coach, Grand Rapids Owls (CSHL) – Junior B

Additional Coaching Experience
2005, 2009, Coach, USA Hockey Select 16 Festival
2006-2008, Coach, USA Hockey Select 17 Festival
2004, Head Coach, Team Michigan – Select 16 Festival
2004-2006, Coaching Director, Arctic Foxes Youth Hockey (Pittsburgh)

Coaching Highlights
*2002 USA Junior A National Champions
*2002 NAHL Playoff Championship
*2002 NAHL Regular Season Championship
*2003 College Hockey America League Playoff Champions
*2003 NCAA Tournament Qualifier
*Recruited the leading scorer in Robert Morris University NCAA Division I hockey history

Playing Background
*Participant on Western Michigan University NCAA Division I roster
*Played junior hockey for the Danville Wings and Grand Rapids Bear Cats (NAHL) and Petrolia (Ontario) Jets (WOJHL)
*Played Midget AAA for Detroit Compuware

During the summer of 2009, Fakler was a speaker at the National Hockey Coaches Symposium, which educates coaches seeking USA Hockey’s highest level of coaching certification. Fakler spoke to coaches from across the nation along with presentations from several current and former National Hockey League coaches and general managers, including Ron Wilson and Brian Burke of the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Tortorella of the New York Rangers and Peter Laviolette, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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