Canadian forward Willsie plays wing and center, while American Murley plays right and left wing.
KHL Medveščak Zagreb has expanded its roster for the 2013/2014 season with another two forwards. Entering the Bear den are Brian Willsie and Matt Murley. Canadian forward Willsie plays wing and center, while American Murley plays right and left wing.
Brian WIllsie was born in 1978 in Belmont (Ontario, Canada). He grounded his hockey roots playing for the WOHL’s Belmont MHA, Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, St. Thomas Stars, and the OHL’s Guelph Storm. In 1996 he was the 146th NHL draft pick for the Colorado Avalanche, and in the 1998/1999 season he represented Canada in the U20 World Juniors and scored two goals.
Willsie signed his first professional contract in the 1998/1999 season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, and in the following season he debuted in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche. His first NHL game was on 9 January 2000 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Willsie spent the 2000/2001 season with the Bears, and then had the opportunity to play for Colorado in the NHL again in 2001/2002, and in the following season he played another 18 games with them and 59 with the Hershey Bears. In the following seasons he played for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and L.A. Kings, and during the NHL lockout in 2004/2005 he played for the AHL’s Portland Pirates and Ljubljana’s Olimpija (IEL), followed by the lake Eerie Monsters (AHL), Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL), TPS (SM-liiga), and for Kloten (NLA). Throughout his professional career, Willsie has played 391 games in the NHL (111 points), 574 in the AHL (433 points), 48 in the SM-Liiga (35 points), 11 in the NLA (10 points), 12 in the IEL (13 points), and also two games in the Slovenian Championship.
"Brian Willsie is going to give our team depth at the beginning of the season, and it’s going to be great to have a player of his calibre on the team! Throughout his career Willsie was always a significant player regardless of what level he played at and he is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to show his athletic qualities to Zagreb’s fans and to help Medveščak have a good start to their premiere season in the KHL", said Medveščak’s sports director, Aaron Fox, adding about his status in Medveščak and his so-called ‘double contract’ that:
"Willsie wanted to show off his talents in the KHL and has signed a ‘try-out’ contract with Medveščak from August until October while at the same time he has a six-month contract with Finnish TPS. If Willsie shows to be a player that we need and if he gets along with the new team then in October we will try to make him one of our players in the 2014/2015 season and have him back in Zagreb”.
Matt Murley was born in Troy (New York, USA). After spending his junior days playing with the Syracuse Jr. Crunch (MetJHL), in 1998 he enrolled at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute private university and spent four seasons (1998/1999 until 2001/2002) playing on their hockey team which competes in the NCAA.
In 1999 he was the 51st NHL draft pick for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and played his first professional season in 2002/2003 in Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliates the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. He wore the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins’ jersey for the next two seasons until 2003/2004 when he debuted in the NHL playing 18 games for Pittsburgh. Aside from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton and Pittsburgh Penguins, he also played for the Albany river Rats (AHL), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), Amur Habarovsk (KHL), Langenthal (NLB), Lugano (NLA), Rapperswil (NLA), Linköping (SHL), and Timrau (SHL). Throughout his professional career, Murley has played a total of 62 games in the NHL (9points), 406 in the AHL (280 points), 33 in the KHL (8 points), 131 in the Swedish Hockey League, 16 in the NLA (16 points) and 22 in the NLB (23 points).
"Matt Murley is a player who is going to bring flexibility and also dynamic to our team. Last season in the Swedish league he had an average of one point per game. In the AHL, and also in European clubs, he was always one of the top six forwards on the teams. He played well in the NHL as a player on the third or fourth lineup. Murley is a player who can play center and wing", stated Aaron Fox.