The Brookings Blizzard, proud members of the North American Hockey League, participated in the Annual NAHL Draft on Tuesday June 9th, selecting nine players from across the country. The Blizzard were allotted nine picks in the Draft, which is based on the number of returning veteran players plus the number of signed tenders to get the team to 30 players.
Among those selected this year were players from across the US, Canada, as well as a goaltender from Belarus. “In 60 games last year, 27 of them were decided by just one goal so this year you can expect us to take a handful of forwards who can score as well as a goalie or two who can handle the high intensity of this league,” said Head Coach and General Manager Moe Mantha.
This years picks were a variety of birth years, ranging from the maximum 1998 birth year, and on down to 2001. With the sixth overall pick in the first round, the Blizzard selected Dylan Schuett (pictured above), a forward from Medicine Hat, Alberta. Schuett, who spent last season with the East Coast Wizards, and was selected as the Eastern Hockey League’s “Rookie of the Year” with an impressive 64 points (33g-31a-64p) in 48 games.
Schuett also played in two games for the Blizzard last season, notching one goal in the December game. In the second round, the Blizzard selected Kendrick Frost, a Lee’s Summit, MO native who spent last year with the Syracuse (NY) Stars of the NCDC.
Frost, a 1999 born forward, put up 36 points (18g-18a-36p) in 50 games last year for the Stars. He is a 2019 commit to Army (NCAA, DI).
Next in the Blizzard selections, comes Owen Belisle, a 2001 forward from Thunder Bay, ON, CAN, who spent last season with the Thunder Bay NorthStars of the SIJHL. In the 17-18 season, Belisle posted 32 points (13g-19a-32p) in 52 games last season.
In round five, the Blizzard selected Belarus native Wouter Peeters, a 1998 goaltender who spent the past season with the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. Peeters appeared in 30 games last season for the Phantoms, posting a .902 save average. The 6’4” tall goaltender was a 2016 third round NHL Draft pick for the Chicago Blackhawks.
In round six, the Blizzard selected Illinois native John Johnson, who spent last season with the Chicago Mission 16-U program. Johnson was able to put up 15 points (7g-8a-15p) in 20 games last year.
With their seventh Round Pick, the Blizzard selected another Illinois native, TJ Koufis, who also spent last year with the Mission 16-U team with Johnson. Koufis also notched 15 points (4g-11a-15p) in 20 games last season with the Mission. Koufis is a 2020 commit to the University of Wisconsin (NCAA, DI).
Next, in round eight, the Blizzard picked up a strong defensemen from the St. Louis Blues AAA program, Christian Berger. Berger spent the majority of last season with the Blues, collecting 23 points (10-13-23) in 30 games with the AAA team. Berger also spent time with St. Louis University High School (USHS, 12 points in 14 games) as well as Madison Capitols (USHL, one point in seven games). Christian is a 2019 Penn State University commitment.
In the ninth round, Blizzard picked up Michigan Native, and Leamington Flyers (GOJHL) forward Nathan Skulley. Skulley posted 17 points (8-9-17) in 38 games for the Flyers.
Finally, with their last pick in the tenth round in the 2018 NAHL Draft, Blizzard selected Toronto native David Israel, who spent the past season with the Palm Beach Hawks of the USPHL Premier. Israel, a 6’1” defensemen, posted 24 points (6-18-24) in 41 games last season with the team.
“We’re very excited to pick up these players today,” said Mantha. “We’re getting 9 great leaders who all have top notch character and an excellent work ethic. We’re working towards building this program to our vision and these players will all help us get there.”
The Blizzard will host their final Main Camp from July 19-22 at Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls, NY. Selected players will report to Brookings in late August for training camp. Season Tickets are now on sale for the 2018-19 Season and can be reserved by calling the Blizzard Front Office at (605) 592-9114.