The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze are pleased to confirm the signing of American defenceman Alexander Kuqali for the 2022/23 Elite League season.
31-year-old Kuqali joins the Blaze following several seasons playing in the ECHL with Orlando Solar Bears, Fort Wayne Komets, Quad City Mallards and Florida Everblades (2015-2021).
In 279 regular season games, Kuqali scored 78 points (15 goals, 63 assists) from the blue-line, also appearing in 15 playoff games with five assists.
Off the ice, Kuquali won the Rob Kenny Memorial Award for his community service efforts whilst with the Solar Bears.
Prior to turning pro, Kuqali graduated from RIT (Rochester Inst. of Tech.) where he helped the Tigers capture three consecutive Atlantic Hockey Association conference titles from 2014-16.
During his senior year (2015/16), Kuqali served as team captain and earned Lowes Senior Class All-American First-Team honours as well as winning RT’s Art Thomas Award for outstanding leadership.
In 153 career NCAA games, Kuqali recorded 59 points (13 goals, 46 assists).
Standing 6’2″ Kuqali registered 46 points (nine goals, 37 assists) in three seasons during his junior career in the USHL split between the Indiana Ice and the Sioux City Musketeers (2009-2012).
Head Coach Danny Stewart said: “Alex is a stay at home defenceman with great size. He’s another guy that’s difficult to play against due to his heavy play and willingness to defend. He’s very good on the penalty-kill and is another guy who will put his body on the line.
“He had a great junior/college career and has followed that up with a very good pro career as well. He’s been a steady piece on the back for Orlando for several seasons.
“Last season he took some time off for personal reasons, but stayed active in the game through coaching and being on the ice weekly. He’s a big character and a true sportsman.”