For Immediate Release: April 1, 2014
The West Michigan Wolves will begin play in the NA3HL for the upcoming 2014-15 season. The Wolves moniker has historical significance as it also served as the name of southwest Michigan’s North American Hockey League franchise that competed during the 1988-89 season before becoming the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings. The new edition of the Wolves will use The Rink in Battle Creek as home ice. The logo and colors for the team will be announced in the coming weeks.
A seasoned coach with an extensive resume highlighted by player development, Marc Fakler takes the reins as General Manager and Head Coach of the West Michigan Wolves for the 2014-15 season. He will be in charge of all hockey operations and serve as a governor on behalf of the club on the NA3HL’s Board of Members. Fakler also currently serves as a scout for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL).
“It was time to turn the page and make a fresh start and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to get a person of Marc’s high-end level to guide our team to new heights,” said team Owner Dr. Joseph Burkhardt. “Marc’s ability to recruit and his connections with the professional and collegiate levels of players should help us get the caliber of players we’re looking for, that we need to have in order to be successful in the NA3HL.”
Fakler has a strong familiarity with junior hockey in West Michigan as he most recently led the defunct Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings (NAHL) as General Manager/Head Coach from 2010-2013. In his first season he impressively built the roster of the expansion Jr. K-Wings that finished with a regular season record of 37-19-4, one point out of first place in the NAHL's North Division in 2011-12. Under his guidance the Jr. K-Wings soared to a regular season record of 72-38-10 over its only two seasons. Both seasons the team advanced in the NAHL playoffs and 22 players earned opportunities at NCAA Division I and III collegiate hockey programs. For his efforts, he was selected to coach at the NAHL Top Prospects tournament in both 2012 and 2013.
Fakler was an assistant coach at Western Michigan University from 2006-10. He recruited four defensemen to Western Michigan University that signed NHL contracts - Danny DeKeyser (Detroit), Matt Tennyson (San Jose), Kevin Connauton (Vancouver/Dallas), and Luke Witkowski (Tampa Bay). In addition he also coached current Columbus Blue Jackets forward Mark Letestu at Western Michigan.
Other coaching stops for Fakler include working as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level with Robert Morris (2004-06) and Wayne State (2002-04). Wayne State captured the College Hockey America Tournament Championship and advanced to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Fakler also served two seasons as assistant general manager/assistant coach for the Junior A Compuware Ambassadors of the NAHL and assistant coach for the Junior B Grand Rapids Owls of the CSHL (now NA3HL). He helped Compuware capture the 2002 national championship and NAHL Regular Season and Robertson Cup Playoff Championships.
At Compuware he coached current NHL players Andy Greene (New Jersey Devils), Chris Conner (Pittsburgh Penguins) and David Booth (Vancouver Canucks) in addition to numerous players that advanced to play collegiate and major junior hockey. He continues to be actively involved with USA Hockey as a lecturer with USA Hockey's Coaches Education Program and he has coached at seven USA Hockey Select 16/17 Festivals.
“The NA3HL provides a great training ground for player development and I look forward to putting my personal stamp on this program,” states Fakler.