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Former MTU captain Brice signs with ECHL’s Wings

Michigan Tech senior forward Raymond Brice shown in action against Northern Michigan during the WCHA quarterfinals on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Marquette, Mich. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette, File)

HOUGHTON — Former Michigan Tech hockey captain and Houghton native Ray Brice has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.

The Kalamazoo Wings, affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, announced the deal Thursday afternoon.

Brice, 24, scored six goals and eight points for the Huskies last season. He said he’s excited to continue his career after the Huskies’ season came to an abrupt end as their WCHA semifinals against Minnesota State was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously very excited to be able to continue to play, especially after the way this year ended,” Brice said. “When you’re done, you don’t know if you can continue playing. I’m lucky to continue playing and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Kalamazoo.”

The Wings’ season last year also ended short because of the virus. The Wings finished fifth in the ECHL Central Division of the Western Conference at 23-30-7.

“We have been trying to recruit players with a high compete level and Brice’s motor never quits,” Wings head coach Nick Bootland said. “He is a player that brings it every night. His character fits perfectly into the culture that we’ve created here.”

Former Huskies Reid Sturos (2013-17) and Eric Kattelus (2007-11) also play for the Wings.

Brice, a 6-foot, 194-pound forward, is living in Iron Mountain, doing on-ice training in Eagle River, Wisconsin and at Michigan Tech on the weekends, said he’s excited to move to Kalamazoo. He’s just not sure when that’ll be because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’d like to get down there a few days before camp and get settled in and what not, but we’ll see,” Brice said of the Oct. 2 training camp opener. We’ll see what they relay what to players and make my decision off that.”

Brice said his agent, Patrick Bedell of 1Vision Sports & Entertainment, fielded the most ECHL interest from the Wings and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

“Just the way that the coaching staff reached out to me and my agent and their interest. My agent kind of said I was the first client they had reached out to of his (clients),” Brice said of Kalamazoo. “(Bedell) felt pretty good that they were very interested in me. I’ve talked to past players that played at Michigan Tech that moved on. I haven’t heard a bad thing about the organization. I’ve heard nothing but good things about their coaching staff. They said I could fit into their style. They’re close, being a Michigan team. Not too far from home, which is another selling point.”

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