February 8, 2017
SHREVEPORT – The Shreveport Mudbugs, proud members of the North American League are pleased to announce the acquisitions of forward Kyle Kawamura and defenseman Jake Hartje. The club has also announced that defenseman Tomass Zeile has been placed on season ending injury reserve.
Kawamura joins the Mudbugs from the USHL’s Lincoln Stars, where he competed in 14 games and chipped in with 2 goals. The 5’7, 165 pound forward spent the 2015-2016 campaign with the Omaha ‘AAA’ program, where he finished tied for third in overall team points with 36 through 20 North American Prospects Hockey League regular season games. Interestingly, the Franklin, TN native shared third place in team scoring with current Mudbug Gabe Wahl. Kawamura is the fourth Mudbugs player to hail from the well-respect Omaha ‘AAA’ program, and also has an NCAA Division I commitment to the University of Maine.
“Kyle is a competitive, speedy forward who plays the game at a high pace,” Head Coach Karlis Zirnis said. “He has a deceptive shot and he likes to use it often. We expect that Kyle will use his attributes to make us a tougher team to play against.”
The second Mudbugs acquisition came just hours before the NAHL trade deadline this past Monday, when the organization acquired veteran defenseman Jake Hartje from the Northeast Generals. The Bloomfield, MI native brings experience to the Bugs’ back end, having competed in close to 80 NAHL regular seasons games in his junior career. Hartje has tallied 6 goals and 13 assists for 19 points through 28 games with the Generals this season. In 2015-2016, the 6’0, 175 pound defenseman split time between the Minnesota Wilderness and the Kenai River Brown Bears. Before embarking on his junior career, Hartje skated for the Detroit Country Day School, where he captained the team his senior year.
Head Coach Karlis Zirnis is hopeful that both Hartje’s skill set and league experience will strengthen the Mudbugs down the stretch.
“Jake is a good skating D-man with offensive instincts,” Zirnis said. “He likes to join the rush and use his legs to start the rush offensively, and looks to be active in the offensive zone. At the same time, he takes pride in his play without the puck.”
Both Kawamura and Hartje will be with the Bugs in time for this weekend’s series against the Lone Star Brahmas.