Kyle Bigos (L) and Ales Sova (R)
The Quad City Mallards have signed defensemen Kyle Bigos and Ales Sova for the 2017-18 season, the Mallards announced today.
Bigos, 28, makes his return to the ice with the Mallards after last playing early last season for the Idaho Steelheads. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Upland, California native skated in a pair of games for Idaho last October after spending the 2015-16 campaign in the United Kingdom with the Edinburgh Capitals of the Elite Ice Hockey League. Bigos scored five goals and added 15 assists for 20 points in 44 games with Edinburgh. He also finished fifth in the EIHL in penalty minutes (157).
“Kyle is a big, strong, stay-at-home defenseman who’s been training hard this summer and is ready to get started,” said Mallards coach Phil Axtell. “I plan on him playing a simple and steady game while logging a lot of minutes.”
Bigos, who was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth round of the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft with the ninety-ninth overall pick, has recorded nine goals, 39 assists and 48 points along with 365 minutes in penalties in 156 career regular season games. He has played eight of those games in the American Hockey League.
Before his Scottish excursion, Bigos skated in the ECHL for the bulk of his first two professional seasons. He broke into the ECHL in 2013-14 with the San Francisco Bulls and joined the Ontario Reign later that season after the Bulls ceased operations. Between the two clubs, he totaled three goals, ten assists, 13 points and 110 penalty minutes in 59 games. Bigos’ rookie campaign also saw him play five AHL games- during which he picked up one assist- for the Worcester Sharks.
Bigos returned to Ontario for the 2014-15 season and helped the Reign reach the Western Conference finals. He scored once and notched a dozen assists for thirteen points while spending 93 minutes in the penalty box in 43 games. Bigos also played three more games for Worcester and registered another AHL assist.
Before turning pro, Bigos piled up 14 goals, 33 assists and 47 points to go with 457 penalty minutes in 133 games over four seasons at Merrimack College. As a sophomore in 2011, Bigos not only helped propel the Warriors to their first NCAA tournament berth in 23 years but also scored Merrimack’s first tournament goal in better than two decades. Bigos was named to the Hockey East All-Academic team as a sophomore and would go on to serve as an assistant captain as a senior.
Bigos also enjoyed success in junior hockey. He capped off his two-year tour with the Vernon Vipers by winning the British Columbia Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup title in 2009.
Sova, 25, joins the Mallards after playing his first seven seasons in Europe. The 6-foot, 190-pound product of Brno, Czech Republic last season scored one goal and pocketed 11 assists for 12 points in 36 games with Herning Blue Fox in Denmark’s Metal Ligaen.
“Ales has been on my radar since last spring and he’s excited to transition to North American hockey,” said Axtell. “His pro experience in Europe should allow for a quick adjustment. I expect him to be a reliable puck moving guy.”
Sova first arrived in Denmark midway through the 2015-16 season. He scored one goal and assisted on another in 13 regular season games before joining a postseason drive that took Herning to the Metal Ligaen finals. Earlier in that campaign, Sova skated in both Italy- for Asiago- and the Czech Republic- with LHK Jestrabi Prostejov.
Sova began his travels abroad after coming up through the ranks with Czech clubs. Sova emerged from HC Kometa Brno’s under-20 squad, but played only one regular season game for the club proper. After a ten-game stint with Prostejov during the 2009-10 season, his career began in earnest when he joined HC Havlickuv Brod as a 19-year old in 2010-11. Late in the following season he moved on to Orli Znojmo, which, while based in the Czech Republic, is a member of the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. Sova and Znojmo would reach the EBEL playoffs in each of his four seasons with the team.
In all, Sova has played 272 career regular season games in Europe and has produced 11 goals, 32 assists and 43 points.
The Mallards will open their twenty-first season- and their fourth in the ECHL- on Friday, October 13 against the Toledo Walleye at the iWireless Center. Mallards 2017-18 season tickets are now available. Season ticket holders enjoy significant savings of the walk-up ticket price and receive a host of exclusive benefits. For more season ticket information, fans can contact the Mallards at 309-277-1364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.