The Kitmart Dundee Stars are delighted to announce our final signings of the summer and welcome defenseman, Markus Kankaanperä and forward, Sebastian Bengtsson to the club for the 2021-2022 Elite League season.

The European pair will fill the final two import spots and will each bring experience from some of Europe’s top leagues, but also more size and speed to the Stars for this upcoming campaign.

 

Markus Kankaanperä (Picture Credit: Lehtikuva/Martti Kainulainen.)

 

Markus, 41, has spent most of his career in his homeland of Finland, playing in all three of the country’s top leagues, with brief spells in Sweden and Germany.

Last season, Kankaanperä iced in both the Finnish Mestis league with JoKP and then in the top-flight with HPK, featuring in a total of 39 games.

The 6-foot-2-inch blueliner is a two-time SM-liiga champion (2010-211, 2015-2016) and a five-time SM-Liiga Silver Medallist.

Born in Sweden, Kankaanperä, is a product of the JYP youth academy and was also selected by Vancouver Canucks in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, being picked #218th overall in the eighth round.

The 214lbs defender is considered a star player at three of his former Finnish clubs (HIFK, Jokerit and Tappara) and has represented Finland on 98 occasions at U16, U17, U18, U20 and Senior levels.

The native of Skelleftea, Sweden has played a total of 1,560 games in his 26-year career, scoring 90 goals, recording 204 assists and totalling 2,862 penalty minutes.

Kankaanperä was also the SM-liiga Most Penalised Player in both 2012-2013 (166 minutes) and 2016-2017 (158 minutes).

 

Markus Kankaanperä (Picture Credit: Kiekkopojatjoensuu/Instagram.)

 

Meanwhile, Swedish winger, Bengtsson joins from Swedish Allsvenskan side, Väsby IK, where he played in 49 matches last year and totalled 15 points (6G, 9A).

The 26-year-old has spent his entire life in Sweden and has worked his way up the leagues during his 12-year career.

A product of the Huddinge IK youth system, the 5-foot-8-inch forward won a playoff championship to gain promotion back in 2016, as he helped Vastervik climb out of the HockeyEttan and into the Allsvenskan.

Bengtsson is also a former teammate of ex-Stars captain, Johan Andersson, who played alongside the 170lbs-winger at Södertälje, during the 2012-2013 season.

Sebastian has spent the past three seasons playing in Sweden’s second tier with both Södertälje and Väsby.

However, in the 2017-2018 HockeyEttan campaign, whilst playing with Borlänge HF, he led the North region in scoring for both goals (14) and points (26).

Bengtsson has played in a grand total of 538 career games, scoring 154 goals and assisting 217 times, while collecting 153 penalty minutes, all between 2009 and 2021.

 

Sebastian Bengtsson (Picture Credit: Per Eliasson.)

 

After completing his defensive-core with the signing of Kankaanperä, Stars GM and Head Coach, Omar Pacha excitedly said: “We really wanted to add another experienced guy to the back end and when Markus became available, I moved quickly.

“With so many years of playing in Liiga and playing a lot of minutes in that league last year, I felt that he could be another steady defenseman for us, who also has those leadership abilities.

“We wanted to get a solid d-group this year, who have size and strength, so Markus was the perfect guy for this last position.

“His experience is second to none, his resume his very impressive, he is a winner and has won championships in Liiga and played at that level for many years.

“So, it is exciting to get a guy of that pedigree, who still has a few years left him and he is in great shape.”

 

Markus Kankaanperä (Picture Credit: Eemeli Kosonen.)

 

The Stars boss then discussed his final attacking addition and Pacha said: “When we looked at the forward group, we really wanted to add another guy who has a lot of skill and speed.

“I felt we had enough size and strength, so we were looking for someone to bring more creativity and pace into the line-up.

“With Sebastian, he has proven he can produce offence in the Allsvenskan, which is a usually really hard to do in that league.

“So, he has proven he can put up good numbers and what I really like about him is that, he is really good at all the fundamentals of a winger, he has great speed, a great shot and he competes hard every night.

“Also, all the references on him as an individual were really good, so I am excited to get Sebastian here and I am confident he will have success in this league.”

Once his first move away from Sweden was confirmed, a delighted Bengtsson added:

“I have always been interested in playing outside of Sweden and now when I got the opportunity, it felt right.”

“I had a very good talk with Omar, it felt like he had scouted me well and knew what kind of player I am and how he wants to use me in the games.”

Bengtsson continued: “I did not know much about the Elite League, but I have been talking a little bit to Jonas Westerling, who played in Sheffield, about the league and everything else.

“He spoke well about the league and said he had a really good time there, so I am looking forward to this year.”

 

Sebastian Bengtsson (Picture Credit: David Wall.)

 

Markus and Sebastian are our 19th and 20th signings of the summer and they join Drydn Dow, Craig Garrigan, Kris Inglis, Alexandre Ranger, Connor Sills, Craig Moore, Kyle Haas, Dillon Lawrence, Gabriel Desjardins, Brython Preece, Toms Rutkis, Timi Lahtinen, Spencer Dorowicz, Adam Morrison, Philippe Sanche, Charlie Combs, Michael Poirier and Caly Robertson on the roster for next season.

You can get your season tickets to watch these 20 players in the 2020-2021 campaign by buying your season tickets from Dundee Ice Arena or buying game night tickets HERE!

Kankaanperä will wear #12 for Dundee this year and Bengtsson will wear #21.

To view Markus’ career stats on Elite Prospects click HERE and to see Sebastian’s click HERE.

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Dundee Stars Team
48 Games
18 Wins
27 Losses
3 OT Losses
39 Points