Wichita Thunder coach Kevin McClelland, one of the NHLs toughest players of the 1980s, is taking steps to ensure his team can excel when a physical style is needed.
The new Thunder coach has signed three players who appear more than capable of handling themselves on the ice.
Adam Knight is a 6-foot-2 forward who played for McClelland when he coached in Colorado in 2008-09. Playing for both the Eagles and New Mexico that season, he had four points and 153 penalty minutes in 58 games.
In 64 professional games, defenseman Ryan Hand (6-1, 180) has posted six points and 205 penalty minutes.
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McClelland is high on rookie Peter Stevens, a 6-3 defenseman who joined Allen for the Central Hockey League playoffs last season.
Stevens and Knight could be particularly valuable because they can play both forward and defense.
"All three of these guys will go out and crash and bang," McClelland said. "I dont coach to have a lot of scraps, but there will be occasion for it. These guys know how to look out for their teammates; all three guys are trying to round out their games.
"Players like this don't get all the headlines and press clippings and all that stuff, but trust me, I know first-hand what a valuable commodity they are to a hockey team."