By Ryan J. Harr
Last Thursday night, newcomer Alex Kile’s four-year career at the University of Michigan ended with 4-1 loss in the opening round of the Big-10 Tournament to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Less than three days later, he began his professional career as he suited up for the Rochester Americans.
“Last Friday morning I got a call,” said Kile after his first practice in Rochester Thursday at The Blue Cross Arena. “I had a couple options on various places, but I felt the best fit was with Rochester. I wanted to go somewhere I could fit in and be comfortable right away and this was one place I feel was the best option.”
After packing all his things and personal belongings Friday, he went to Buffalo to meet with Sabres management before finally arriving in Toronto to join the Amerks Monday for practice at the Ricoh Coliseum in preparation for Tuesday’s game with the Marlies.
“The last few days has been pretty crazy as I left Michigan and then played in Toronto just a few days later. It was not easy to leave my college teammates after the loss and the completion of our season, and in my case, my collegiate career, but I have a good support system, so they are very happy for me. I am equally happy to begin my career.”
This past season with the Wolverines, Kile served as team captain. He also becomes the second Michigan captain to join the Amerks following defenseman Mac Bennett, who was a senior when Kile was just starting his collegiate career in Ann Arbor.
“I was a freshman at Michigan while ‘Benny’ was a senior and Mac is an outgoing and such a likeable guy, so he and I clicked right away. He has now taken me under his wing since I got here as he is driving me around and showing me the city. It definitely helps having someone that I know and feel comfortable.”
While Kile, 22, finished his four-year career with 80 points (40+40) and 78 penalty minutes in 130 games with the Wolverines, he is looking forward to joining the Amerks this season.
“I feel as if I am a high-skilled player who can play anywhere coach puts me. I also think I am a player who can be physical and use my speed to my advantage.”
As a junior during 2015-16, the 6-foot-0, 194 pound forward helped Michigan capture its first Big-10 Tournament Championship in school history. During that campaign, the Troy, Mich., native had a breakout season, establishing career-highs in every offensive category, including goals (16), assists (18) and points (34), which placed him fourth among skaters.
“Even with my own personal success during my junior year, that season was by far the most memorable when looking back on my four seasons with the Wolverines. The University of Michigan is such a prestige school and it truly was an honor to wear the maize and the blue.”