Kero called up to Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Former Michigan Tech hockey player Tanner Kero was called up to the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Kero was the leading scorer for the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL with 20 points on seven goals and 13 assists.

Kero will play Friday against the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center and skated on a line with Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo at practice Thursday.

“I’ve been keeping track of them and watching the games,” Kero said. “They’ve been playing really well. You can tell their confidence is getting a lot higher and they’re getting more comfortable. That’s what you want to do. You want to play hard, play smart, but still try to play your game and be as comfortable as you can.

“You try not to think too much about it. You just go out every shift and try and work hard and prove that you earned that spot here and you belong.”

Kero has notched two-point games in two of the IceHogs’ last three contests to help lead the team to their current three-game winning streak. He is in his second pro season after playing 60 games for Rockford last year, tallying 20 goals and 19 assists. Kero played 17 games for the Blackhawks last season, scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists.

Kero was an All-American, the 2014-15 WCHA Player of the Year, the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year, an All-WCHA First Team selection, and won the WCHA scoring title. In 153 career games in a Tech uniform, he racked up 111 points on 55 goals and 56 assists.

He helped lead the Huskies to the best start in program history in 2014-15, the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 34 years later that season, and the first GLI Title in 32 years in 2012.

Chicago placed forward Artem Anisimov on Injured Reserve and are also without the services of forward Marian Hossa who has an upper body injury.

The Blackhawks upcoming schedule includes the Winnipeg Jets (Dec. 27), the Nashville Predators (Dec. 29), and the Carolina Hurricanes (Dec. 30).