Wichita Thunder

Two defensemen sign with Thunder

While Kory Scoran is joining a hockey team that won just nine games last season, he isn't interested in discussing, or participating in, a rebuilding effort.

"At this point in my career, I don't want to wait three years down the road to win," he said. "I want to win right away, and I think it's definitely possible. I'm really looking forward to doing my part."

Scoran, along with Andrew Martens, are the Wichita Thunder's first announced signings under new coach Kevin McClelland. The defensemen bring experience, well-rounded games and winning backgrounds.

Scoran, 6 feet 3 and 220 pounds, scored 77 points in 200 games in the East Coast Hockey League for the Idaho Steelheads under former Thunder coach Derex Laxdal. Scoran had 21 points during the regular season and seven in 22 playoff games during the Steelheads' championship season in 2006-07.

Scoran described himself as a physical defenseman.

"I love to throw the body," he said. "I like to play all situations — power play, penalty kill. I'm defensive minded, but I like the offense, too."

His numbers improved steadily in the ECHL, and last season he scored a career-high 35 points for the Tilburg Trappers in Holland.

"He'll play a physical game, but I don't mean he's gonna drop the mitts and fight all the time," McClelland said. "He'll make guys pay the price through the neutral zone and in front of the net and in the corners. He'll log a lot of minutes for us."

The 6-1, 205 Martens is expected to get a lot of ice time as well.

Martens has played most of his 294-game career in the ECHL, making the playoffs five times, but he also has experience in the American Hockey League. He has proven to be durable, evidenced by the fact that he has played more than 70 games for four straight seasons.

Last year for the Ontario Reign in the ECHL, he had a career-best 33 assists.

"He's been a real leader wherever he's played, and he's gonna be a good leader for us on and off the ice," McClelland said. "He'll be a heck of a player, too. He'll score some points and he's going to be real reliable defensively."

Like Scoran, Martens expects to win in Wichita immediately. He said he has faith in McClelland.

"I want to win a championship, and he has a pretty good reputation," Martens said. "He's got all the accolades, the Stanley Cup rings, he was a coach of the year.

"I'm just excited to see what he puts together."