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Ex-Northern Michigan University Wildcat hockey player James Vermeulen joins Kalamazoo Wings

KALAMAZOO — For four years, hockey player James Vermeulen was a big, hard-hitting threat for opposing forwards on the Northern Michigan University blue line.

Now the 6-foot-2 defenseman is heading downstate to become a wing, a Kalamazoo Wing that is, as Vermeulen signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks’ ECHL franchise Wednesday.

He joins the Wings after racking up 19 points over four years with the Wildcats, including three goals. Last season, Vermeulen had six assists and NMU went undefeated each time his name was on the box score, going 4-0-1.

Vermeulen is a two-time WCHA Scholar Athlete and a three-time All-WCHA All-Academic Team recipient. Kalamazoo went 36-31-5 last season and lost in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs to the Cincinnati Cyclones.