The Wichita Thunder of the Central Hockey League, powered by Toyota, continued to piece together their roster for the upcoming 2014-15 season, re-signing forward Ian Lowe and goaltender Taylor Nelson while also welcoming defenseman Jim Jorgensen.
“Ian has been a steady player for us and has been important to the community of Wichita,” stated Head Coach Kevin McClelland. “I am also excited to bring back Taylor for next season. He played well for us and we look forward to seeing his progression during his third year as a pro. In regards to Jim, he won a CHL Title and was an All-Star in this league, which is important for our locker room. He’s a talented defenseman who will help our blue line.”
Lowe, 27, returns for his third season in a Thunder uniform and his fourth year as a pro. A native of Bradwardine, Manitoba, Lowe has been the recipient of the team's Unsung Hero Award for the last two seasons. The gritty 5-foot-9, 175-pound forward followed up his first year in Thunder blue with a solid sophomore campaign recording 39 points (14g, 20a) in 55 games. One of his best performances came in a 5-1 win last December against St. Charles when he recorded a pair of goals and added an assist. That outing sparked a six-game point streak, which was his longest of the season. He has recorded 30 or more points in each of his first three years a professional. Lowe, who spent a four-year career at Bemidji State University where he ranks 11th on the school’s all-time Division I scoring list, is eager to be back and turn things around for this upcoming season.
“I am excited to be back in Wichita this winter,” commented Lowe. “I enjoy playing in front of the best fans and the best building in the league. I’m looking forward to getting back on the ice in October and getting this team back to the Finals.”
Nelson, 26, comes back to Wichita for a second season and his third as a pro. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound netminder began his career in San Francisco in 2012-13. A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Nelson was steady between the pipes in his first year in the Air Capital, going 14-11-3 in 32 games played with a 2.93 goals against average and a save percentage of .903. His goals against was good for ninth place in the league while sitting in a tie for 10th place in save percentage. Nelson’s best stretch of the season began around Thanksgiving when he earned wins in starts against Brampton and Missouri. Those victories were followed by four-straight decisions and a eight-game span where he didn’t suffer a loss. Prior to turning pro, Nelson spent four seasons at Ferris State University of the CCHA. He led the Bulldogs to the CCHA title in 2011-12 and a berth in the Frozen Four. That same season, he was selected to the All-CCHA First Team, going 21-7-3 and recording career-bests in goals-against average (2.10) and save percentage (.924), which set the Ferris State record.
“It is Important for me to come back to continue Wichita's winning tradition,” commented Nelson. “Leaving where we ended left a bitter taste in my mouth. I want to come back and not only be a piece, but a big part of a team that does big things. We owe it to not only ourselves, but the fans of Wichita, in bringing back that winning tradition. There are a lot of pieces in place and a lot of great people within the organization. I wanted nothing more than to be a part of the Thunder family for a second season.”
Jorgensen, who just celebrated his 29th birthday on July 19th, makes his way back to Wichita after playing part of the 2009-10 season for the Thunder. After appearing in the CHL All-Star Game as the team’s lone representative, he was traded to Bossier-Shreveport in February. He finished with 16 points (6g, 10a) in 42 games in Wichita and seven points (2g, 5a) in 18 games with the Mudbugs. A native of Sault St. Marie, Michigan, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound blue liner went on to win a CHL Championship the following season. Jorgensen will be entering his seventh season as a pro and returns state-side after playing the last three seasons abroad. His best statistical season came in 2011-12, where he notched 51 points (16g, 35a) in 58 games for Braehead Clan of the EIHL and was named to the All-Star Second Team. Prior to turning pro in 2007-08, Jorgensen attended Ferris State University where he appeared in 114 games over his four-year collegiate career. Jorgensen and Nelson missed each other by one year playing for the Bulldogs.
“I'm really looking forward to coming back state-side and join the Thunder again,” said Jorgensen. Kevin is a great coach and is building a contender. “Wichita has great fans, and the rink is second-to-none. I am really looking forward to getting to town and can’t wait to make a run at some hardware!”
2014-15 season tickets are on sale now! All it takes to get started is $50 deposit per seat. Don’t delay! Contact the Wichita Thunder Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at (316) 264-4625. Stay up-to-date on all the news this off-season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.