BRUINS ALUMNI REPORT: Wilkins Begins Season in ECHL, Zmolek Captains Mavericks, Kucharski Earns First Win

ECHL: Recently, the NHL announced their plans to commence a 56-game season which is great news for players like former Bruins forward Josh Wilkins (Bruins ’14-15). The Nashville Predators signee spent all of 2019-20 in the American Hockey League with the Predators affiliate the Milwakee Admirals. While there, the Raleigh, NC, native netted three goals and added 12 assists for a total of 15 points in 56 games. To start the 2020-21 season, Wilkins begins the year in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades, another Nashville affiliate. For Wilkins, his stint in the ECHL is likely a temporary one as he awaits the AHL’s announcement on when (and if) they will begin play now that the NHL has made a move. As any good coach or player will tell you, there’s nothing wrong with logging games, regardless of the level, and for Wilkins he’s already helped his Everblades teammates with one point in four games played this season. Florida leads the way in the ECHL’s South Division with a 4-0-0-0 record to start.

NCAA DI: He was a captain in the USHL with Cedar Rapids and now Riese Zmolek (Bruins ’14-15) is a captain for Minnesota State Mankato. The Rochester, MN, native was awarded the “C” this season from Head Coach Mike Hastings. Now a senior, Zmolek patrols the blue-line for the Mavericks who are currently ranked 5th in the nation (USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine). With one assist in five games played for Minnesota State, Zmolek has captained his Maverick teammates to a record of 3-1-1 to begin the year.

NCAA DI: Making his NCAA debut this past week for American International College was goaltender Jake Kucharski (Bruins ’16-17). Drafted by the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes in 2018, Kucharski originally committed to play college hockey for Providence. During the offseason however, the Erie, PA, native opted to transfer and got his first collegiate start as a member of AIC on December 12. His 24-save performance helped the Yellow Jackets earn a 3-1 win over the Bentley Falcons. After the game, Kucharski had some thoughts on his first start at the collegiate level.