Marcus Vela returns


The Toledo Walleye have signed two forwards, former Fort Wayne Komet J.C. Campagna and Walleye returnee Marcus Vela.

Campagna, a native of Dallas, Texas, has appeared in 171 career ECHL games over five seasons, collecting 123 points (65G, 58A) and 127 penalty minutes. 

His best season came with the Fort Wayne Komets in the 2018-19 campaign that featured a career-high 35 goals to go along with 14 assists. Prior to playing in just four games this past year, the 6’4”, 205-pound forward spent the 2019-2020 season in Norfolk with 13 goals and 15 assists spanning 43 contests.

“J.C. has proven he can score in the ECHL. He will add some offensive punch to our lineup and some size. He knows our league, knows how to navigate the Central Division, so adding that experience was valuable. I’m looking forward to seeing him compete in training camp,” said Walleye coach Dan Watson said, 

Prior to turning professional, the 28-year-old spent three years in the Canadian College ranks between St. Thomas University and the University of Prince Edward Island. In total, Campagna appeared in 84 games with 29 goals and 26 assists. 

His college career came after spending five years playing junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His best year came in the 2013-2014 year with Moncton with 45 points (21G, 24A) in just 47 contests. He is familiar with Ohio, having played 56 games for the Ohio Blue Jackets 16U AAA team in the 2008-2009 season (22G, 34A).

Vela skated for the Walleye during the 2019-20 campaign, appearing in 49 games with 25 points (12G, 13A) and 31 penalty minutes. That included his first professional hat trick, which he collected on November 30, 2019 at Reading. 

The 24-year-old played for Florida this past year, appearing in 29 contests with five goals, four assists and 27 penalty minutes. The former seventh round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks in 2015 helped the Everblades finish the regular season with the league’s best record.

When asked about signing Vela, Watson said, “Marcus brings versatility to our team. He has the ability to play up and down the lineup, both center and wing as well. Marcus adds value off the ice with his preparation and willingness to get better each day. He gained valuable experience playing last season in Florida and we look forward to working with him again.”

Prior to turning professional, Vela spent four years at the University of New Hampshire where he was team captain in the 2018-19 season. In total, the Burnaby, BC native skated in 135 games for the Wildcats with 24 goals, 34 assists, 58 points and 112 penalty minutes. He set a college-best with 18 points (6G, 12A) as a senior in the 2018-19 season.

Walleye, Wings extend affiliation 

The Toledo Walleye, affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, announced a three-year extension of their affiliation agreement. The 2021-22 season will mark the 12th year of partnership between the clubs and extends the affiliation through at least the 2023-24 season.

“We’ve had a number of prospects for the Red Wings and Griffins who were able to jumpstart their professional careers in Toledo, and playing in front of a passionate fanbase and an organization committed to winning has been crucial in their development. Both the hockey and business staffs are among the best in all of minor-league sports and make the Walleye an ideal partner for our organization. We’re looking forward to seeing Toledo return to the ice this fall to continue their quest for a Kelly Cup Championship,” said Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin. 

The Walleye have served as the ECHL’s affiliate to the Red Wings since 2009 when Toledo re-entered the league. From that time, the Walleye have played in one Kelly Cup Finals (2019), captured four division championships and two regular season titles (2014-15, 2016-17), and have qualified for ECHL’s postseason in seven seasons. Detroit was previously affiliated with the ECHL’s Toledo Storm from 1991-99 and 2000-07. The Storm won ECHL Championships in 1993 and 1994 and captured six division titles over their 16-season history.

“The partnership between the Walleye and Detroit and Grand Rapids is one that we look forward to continuing,” “The history of Red Wings hockey is unparalleled and we are excited to be a part of the future. We are humbled to be able to extend this partnership between our organizations for another three years. It’s a testament to the dedication of the Walleye coaching, support staff, and front office, as well as the great fanbase in Toledo. We look forward to continuing our pursuit of the Kelly Cup and helping develop players for the next level.”said Walleye executive vice president and general manager Neil Neukam. 



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