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Royals Re-Sign Defensemen Johnson and Malinowski for 2024-25 Season

Royals Re-Sign Defensemen Johnson and Malinowski for 2024-25 Season

by Reading Royals

The Reading Royals, proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, announced that defensemen Kenny Johnson and Tony Malinowski have re-signed with the club for the 2024-25 season.

Johnson, 26, concluded his first full professional season in Reading after joining the Royals on Nov. 4, 2023. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native totaled 11 points (1g-10a) in 46 games with the Royals during the 2023-24 season. The 6’4″, 229-pound, left-shot defenseman has accumulated 12 points (2g-10a) in 53 professional career games.

“I am excited to sign with the Royals again and get back to Reading,” Johnson stated. “I am excited to chase that ultimate goal of a championship. The coaches and whole staff believe in me to bring me back for next year. Getting back on the ice is what I’m looking forward to, and I can’t wait to see what we can do.”

“Kenny has and will be Mr. Reliable,” Head Coach & General Manager Jason Binkley stated. “He can be versatile, but is also a guy who wants to be here and play for this team. He’s a great teammate in the locker room and great person in the community who shows up for team events and youth hockey camps. He’s a great character kid, awesome person, and a hockey player that I can rely on.”

Johnson played four seasons of NCAA Division-1 hockey at Penn State University prior to his professional career. He registered five points (1g-4a) in 40 games with the Nittany Lions and was apart of the program’s B1G Championship in the 2019-20 season. Johnson played junior hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), where he was bestowed the Most Inspirational Player Award with the Victoria Grizzlies (2018-19), as well as the Fan Favorite and Humanitarian Award Winner with the Penticton Vee’s (2017-18). Kenny is also the younger brother of Stanley Cup Champion defenseman Jack Johnson (NHL veteran of over 1,000 games).

Malinowski, 24, signed a Standard Player Contract (SPC) with the Royals to begin his professional career on March 21, 2024. A native of Clarkston, Michigan, Malinowski played nine games with the Royals during the 2023-24 season after five seasons at Minnesota State University, Mankato. With the Mavericks during the 2023-24 season, Malinowski registered four points (4a), four penalty minutes, and a +2 rating in 13 games.

“I can’t wait to be back for another season,” Malinowski stated. “I am looking forward to playing in front of the fans and to get things going.”

“Tony came in and played well with a lot of minutes because of game situations at the end of the season,” Head Coach & General Manager Jason Binkley stated. “He showed that he is reliable, can play, and can compete at this level. He needs to come in here, be a presence, use his size, and be a solid defender for us every game he plays.”

The 6’5″, 203-pound, left-shot defenseman totaled 14 points (2g-12a), 18 penalty minutes, and a +18 rating in 77 NCAA career games. As a freshman in the 2019-20 season, Malinowski was teammates with former Royal Charlie Gerard at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Malinowski was a part of the Mavericks’ 2020-21 and 2021-22 Frozen Four runs, including a NCAA National Championship appearance against Denver where they were runner up for the title.

Additionally, Malinowski played two seasons in the United States Hockey League (USHL) from 2017-19, where he totaled 17 points (2g-15a), 49 penalty minutes, and a +9 rating in 88 USHL career games between the Tri-City Storm and the Des Moines Buccaneers.