KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Western Michigan hockey team kicks off the 2022-23 season on Saturday night at Alaska-Anchorage.
With the bevy of pro hockey signings and departures, the Broncos welcome 14 new student-athletes to the team. Eight of the group are true freshmen, with the other six coming from the transfer portal.
MEET THE FRESHMEN
#6 | Theo Thrun | F | 5-11, 175 lbs | Right Shot | Grand Rapids, Mich./Maine Nordiques (NAHL)
Thrun comes to Western Michigan after three seasons in the NAHL, while also spending time in the USHL and the BCHL. Most recently he played for the Maine Nordiques in the NAHL, where he posted 23 points in 33 games on 11 goals and 12 assists. Thrun’s best season was 2019-20 with the Kenai River Brown Bears, scoring 38 points on 17 goals and 21 assists in 40 games. If the name sounds familiar to some of the older Bronco Hockey fans, that’s because he is the son of Bronco great Troy Thrun, who helped WMU to the 1986 CCHA Tournament Championship. That season he scored a career-high 84 points on 33 goals and 51 assists, leaving with 183 career points and averaging 1.50 points per game.
#8 | Ryan McAllister | F | 5-10, 185 lbs | Left Shot | London, Ontario/Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
McAllister comes to Western Michigan after filling his trophy case last season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Brooks Bandits. The 20-year-old finished the regular season with a staggering 139 points in just 60 games on 57 goals and 82 assists. He then added 29 points in 13 games in the playoffs as the Bandits won the AJHL Championship. McAllister was named the AJHL Most Valuable Player, the recipient of the Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy and the Canadian Junior Hockey League Most Valuable Player.
#11 | Ethan Wolthers | F | 5-8, 155 lbs | Right Shot | Valencia, Calif./Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL)
Wolthers comes to Kalamazoo on the heels of a career-best season of junior hockey. He tallied 50 points on 18 goals and 32 assists in the regular season, and then added seven more in the NAHL Playoffs. He totaled 68 points in his two-year stint in the NAHL, also spending time in the USHL and the BCHL.
#21 | Barrett Brooks | F | 5-8, 170lbs | Right Shot | Stevens Point, Wis./Madison Capitols (USHL)
Brooks spent last season in the USHL with the Madison Capitols. It was his first full season at that level, where he played in 61 games with 16 points on seven goals and nine assists. He added another five assists in the USHL Playoffs, helping Madison to the Clark Cup Championship series, finishing runners up to Sioux City. Brooks is also a son of a WMU Hockey alum, his father Chris Brooks played from 1992-96, helping the Broncos to an NCAA Tournament appearance in his career. He was named the 1993 CCHA Rookie of the Year after totaling 46 points on 221 goals and 25 assists in 38 games.
#26 | Lucas Matta | D | 6-2, 185 lbs | Left Shot | Kleinburg, Ontario/Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL)
Matta joins the Broncos after his strongest season of junior hockey. He played in 32 games last season for Salmon Arm and tallied 18 points on the blue line with seven goals and 11 assists. The draft-eligible defenseman played with Lake Forest Academy in the Midwest Prep Hockey League, tallying 18 points on eight goals and 10 assists in 35 games. He also nearly averaged a point per game with Lake Forest Academy in the USHS-Prep league, with 60 points on 14 goals and 46 assists in 65 games.
#27 Cole Burtch | F | 5-10, 170 lbs | Right Shot | Markham, Ontario/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)
Burtch put up 72 points, 36 goals and 36 assists, in 110 career games in the USHL, playing for both the Youngstown Phantoms and the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders in his career. Prior to that he put up 83 points on 35 goals and 48 assists in two seasons in the OJHL with the Toronto Patriots.
#29 Will Hambley | G | 6-3, 190lbs | Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia/Steinbach Pistons (MJHL)
Hambley spent one season in the MJHL with the Steinbach Pistons. He played in 32 games, posting an incredible 28-2-1 record with a 1.96 goals against average and a .929 save percentage during the regular season. Hambley helped the Pistons to a first-place finish in the regular season. He also played for Lake Forest Academy in the MPHL and the USHS-Prep leagues.
#33 Samuel Sjolund | D | 6-1, 175 lbs | Left Shot | Stockholm, Sweden/Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
When Sjolund takes the ice for Western Michigan he will become just the second Swedish international to do so. He spent last year in the USHL, posting 35 points on nine goals and 26 assists in 56 games with a plus/minus of +15. Prior to that he played junior hockey in Sweden and has played in 22 international games representing his homeland. Sjolund was selected 111th overall in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars.
MEET THE TRANSFERS
#1 Kirk Laursen | G | RFr. | 6-3, 185 lbs | Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Miami (NCHC)
Laursen did not see game action in his only season at Miami. Prior to joining the RedHawks he played with the New Mexico Wolves of the NAHL, playing in 33 career games.
#4 Zak Galambos | D | Sr. | 6-2, 190lbs | Right Shot | Walnut Creek, Calif./AIC (Atlantic Hockey)
Galambos comes to Western Michigan having a career-best season of college hockey. He played in 36 games last season, helping AIC to the NCAA Tournament, tallying 29 points on five goals and 24 assists from the blue line. In one full and one COVID-shortened season he has produced 39 total points.
#13 Oliver MacDonald | F | Jr. | 5-10, 185 lbs | Left Shot | Grosse Point, Mich./UMASS (Hockey East)
MacDonald transfers to WMU after two seasons at UMASS. He played in 17 games as a freshman, recording five points en route to winning a National Championship with the Minutemen. Last season he played in a career-high 27 games, also posting five points.
#23 Carter Berger | D | Sr. | 6-0, 185 lbs | Left Shot | North Vancouver, British Columbia/UCONN (Hockey East)
Berger played three seasons at UCONN before coming to Kale was selected 106th overall in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers after putting up 27 goals and 36 assists form the blue line for Victoria in the BCHL. With the Huskies he has played in 87 career games with four goals, 23 assists and 27 points. He also has a career plus/minus of +14.
#25 Jack Perbix | F | Sr. | 6-1, 185 lbs | Right Shot | Elk River, Minn./Minnesota (Big Ten)
Perbix spent three seasons with the Golden Gophers and played in Minnesota’s 3-0 win over the Broncos in last season’s NCAA Northeast Regional Final. In his career at UM he played in 103 games with 11 goals, 17 assists and 28 points. Perbix was selected 116th overall in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
#31 Cameron Rowe | G | Jr. | 6-3, 210 lbs | Wilmette, Ill./Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Rowe spent two seasons with Wisconsin before transferring to Western Michigan. As a freshman he posted a 9-2-1 record with a 2.05 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. In 30 total games in two seasons with the Badgers. Prior to that he played for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL and was a part of the USNDTP U-18 program.