(Odessa, TX) - The Odessa Jackalopes announced today that center Kory Karlander has signed with the team as a player/assistant coach for the upcoming 2008-2009 Central Hockey League season. The veteran forward was last season's Most Valuable Player in the IHL, and brings 13 years of professional experience to the Permian Basin.
Karlander spent the last five years splitting time between the IHL's Kalamazoo Wings and the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. The 36-year old has recorded 80 points or more in the past three seasons, including 94 points (41 goals, 53 assists) last year.
"Kory Karlander is a great player. I coached against him for a couple years, he's a strong player who does everything," said Jacks head coach Paul Gillis. "He's great on faceoffs, he plays defense, the power play and penalty kill. Philippe Plante and Dave Van Drunen are the two biggest reasons he's coming here. They did a great job proving to him that we're trying to put together a winning team here."
Originally from Melita, Manitoba, Karlander spent three years playing hockey at Northern Michigan University before turning pro. In 114 collegiate games he scored 92 points (40 goals and 52 assists).
"The last three years in Kalamazoo have been terrific," said Karlander. "But this is a new team, a new town, a new league, and a new challenge for me. (The Jackalopes) have the potential to be a very good team and the potential to make a run at a championship and that was important to me."
Karlander has played games professionally at the ECHL, UHL, IHL, and AHL levels throughout his career. This season will mark his first experience in the Central Hockey League. In his pro career he has appeared in 770 games, scoring 248 goals and 380 assists (628 points).
Karlander participated in the IHL Playoffs in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 with Kalamazoo. In those 31 playoff games he scored 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists).
"He's the total package," said Plante. "Talent, leadership, work ethic, he's like a red wine who's getting better with age. (Van Drunen) and I told him that the organization wants to win, and Odessa is a great situation for him and his family."