WICHITA, KS – After the trainwreck of the 2016-17 season, Wichita Thunder head coach Malcolm Cameron continues to span the globe to find a competitive team for the 2017-18 season.
On Wednesday, the team announced their latest signing, from Hungary of all places, bringing aboard Istvan Sofron for the coming season. The 29-year-old forward has played his entire career in Hungary and represented them in the world championships this past season, scoring a goal against Team USA.
“He slipped under everyone’s radars,” Cameron said. “I connected with him (Sofron) through a friend of mine who is an agent.”
Sofron comes to the United States after playing 357 games in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (Austrian Hockey League) and 122 more games in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (German Ice Hockey League) where he combined to collect 264 points (127G, 137A). In addition, Sofron has won three Hungarian championships and had the high-water mark for goals (31) in the EBEL during the 2011-12 season. Last season, he played for the Szekeshfehervar Alba Volan HC collecting 30 points (15g, 15a) and 85 penalty minutes in 49 games.
“I’m so excited because this is the first time I will be playing in the US,” said Sofron. “I’ve never played in a small rink before, but I’m looking forward to this season. I think my style is suitable for it. I like to finish checks, I’m a strong competitor, good skater, good shooting skills and I always try to do my best. Growing up as a child, I always knew that I would like to play in the US. For me, this is a dream come true.”
“Istvan has elite level skill and has a tremendous shot,” Cameron said. “He has played in the top European leagues and has played against excellent competition. We are looking forward to seeing him on the ice in Wichita.”
Here is a video of Sofron from his time in Hungary:
Sofron is currently serving a six-month suspension from the Hungary National Team for having banned substances in his system. That should not affect his professional eligibility moving forward, however.
The signing of Sofran brings the number of announced player signings by the Thunder to seven, second most behind the Fort Wayne Komets who have announced 11 player signings.
For the latest list of player signings across the ECHL, visit our 2017 ECHL Transactions page!