Kenai River Brown Bears forward Alex Klekotka has been named the Bauer Hockey Midwest Division Star of the Week by the North American Hockey League.
Klekotka, 20, had two goals and an assist in a weekend split at the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets that put the Brown Bears back into fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Midwest Division.
The 6-foot-0, 195-pound forward out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who is in his third year with the club, had the game-winning goal and an assist in Friday’s 5-4 win. He scored again in Saturday’s 3-2 loss.
Kenai River head coach Josh Petrich said Klekotka has been a huge part of changing the culture of the Brown Bears. For instance, Petrich sent out a text message to notify the team of Klekotka’s award because the team is currently on break.
“He texted back, ‘Thanks boys. Appreciate it, but this is a team award. Let’s have a big second half,’” Petrich said. “That speaks for his character and who he is. He’s the last guy to ask for accolades and the first guy to put the work in.”
Petrich said Klekotka has a nice release on his shot and that this should be the start of big things to come as he finishes his junior eligibility.
“He’s an unbelievable human being and a very underrated player on the roster,” Petrich said. “I expect him to have a huge second half of the season. I expect this to jump-start the kid.”
The Brown Bears host the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel at 7:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Jan. 11 and 12.