Ryan Clark's Force Blog

I don't know how many people run across this blog when trying to find some Fargo Force news but there may be a couple left over...just thought I would direct you to a Fargo Force blog done by the Fargo Forum beat writer, Ryan S. Clark.  

Check out the site at http://slightlychilled.areavoices.com

Hope all is well with all of you folks in Fargo, ND.  Good luck in another postseason run!

New job = no more blogging

I won't be able to blog for the Force at all anymore as I have taken a job in Minneapolis, MN. I hope you all have a great hockey season following the Force and best of luck in all that you do in life. Enjoy the games! I'm sure I will be making it back to Fargo for a few games as I still have family and friends in Fargo, ND.

Have fun watching the tryouts that are upcoming and Go Force!

For all of your Fargo Force info visit http://www.fargoforce.com/

Force prospects taken in NHL Draft

Shattuck-St. Mary's product, Jimmy Mullin will be playing for the Force this year and was a 4th round selection from the Tampa Bay Lightning (118th overall).

Fargo Force prospect, Tanner Lane, from Detroit Lakes was selected in the 6th round (160th overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers.

Future Force goaltender, Zane Gothberg from Thief River Falls was also selected in the 6th round by the Boston Bruins (165th overall).

Congrats to all of the Fargo Force prospects/players drafted.

Thanks to sparky81 in the comments section of this entry, we have learned that Joe Basaraba (drafted 69th overall by the Florida Panthers) will not be coming to Fargo but rather the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season. Basaraba was a former futures pick of the Fargo Force.

Colten St. Clair to stay in Fargo

I talked to Colten St. Clair and found out this news...

Colten St. Clair has decided to stick around in Fargo for another year to avoid the logjam at the University of North Dakota.  UND returns many of their players from 2009-10 and it was expected that St. Clair would see limited ice time with the Fighting Sioux.  With that, St. Clair has decided to stick it out one more year with the Force.

This is great news for Fargo as they returned few from 2009-10.  It's also great news for Colten in some aspect as he will get ice time and a better chance in the NHL Draft by staying in Fargo for another season.  Colten is draft eligible in 2011 so sitting on the bench for UND wouldn't make much sense if he wanted a shot at being drafted.  I think this move will benefit both St. Clair and the Force for 2010-11 and the Sioux will get a more experienced player when he leaves for UND in 2011-12.

Past players and predictions for 2010-11

I haven't blogged anything in a while and we gotta get thinking about 2010-11 season soon! With two years in the franchise's existence, we have seen a few players come and go, so...

  • Which Force player will you miss the most going into 2010-11 and why? 
  • Who is your all-time (all two years!) favorite Force player?
  • Which incoming draft pick or returner do you look forward to seeing develop and strive in the USHL next season?
  • Who do you expect to have an impact season in 2010-11?

It's going to be tough to predict who will be the impact players going into next season as we lost a lot of the guys that started with the franchise and had even better seasons in 2009-10. With many incoming players, it will be interesting to hear who everyone thinks will be the top players for the new season.


Who will play in 2010-11?

Here is an attempt to let all of you blog readers who may be here next year for returners and maybe even some of the players that are coming in from the drafts this year and past drafts.  We'll start with the returners.

Returning for Fargo:

Goalie -

Ryan Massa

We are pretty sure that Ryan Massa will be back in Fargo for next season.  It is getting really late in the game for Ryan to commit to a college for 2010 and although he has had some offers, he will look to get more options as he starts in Fargo in 2010-11.

Defense -

Brian Cooper
Brandon Carlson
Oleg Yevenko
? - Nick Romanick

Brian Cooper, Brandon Carlson and Oleg Yevenko are all expected to return to the Force lineup for 2010-11.  Marek Hrbas will not be back with the Force next season, he will  be further pursuing his goal of being an NHL prospect by playing in a different league.  I talked to him today and he said that he would not be back, verifying our commenter's post (see comments).  Also, that same blog poster below believes that Nick Romanick will be elsewhere to start the season next year (see comments).

Forwards -

Colten St. Clair
Nick Oliver
Garrett Allen
Joe Rehkamp
? - Chad Demers
? - John Stampohar

Nick Oliver, Garrett Allen and Joe Rehkamp are all expected to be in a Force uniform come opening night.  Chad Demers had to be re-drafted with the last pick in the USHL Entry Draft which must mean that the Force did not protect Demers.  The Force re-protected him by drafting him so that should mean he should be back with the Force for 2010-11.  Chad played very well in the playoffs playing on Joe Rehkamp and John Stampohar's line.  Stampohar is the big question mark for possible returning forwards.  He has not decided whether he will return to Fargo, go back to Medicine Hat and play with the Tigers (WHL) or play elsewhere.  John Stampohar, Chad Demers and Nick Romanick were all drafted in the NAHL making all of their returns more questionable for the 2010-11 season.

BREAKING NEWS 6/6/10 - Colten St. Clair will be back in Fargo after I talked with him today.

With only a few returners up front for Fargo, the Force will have almost three full lines to fill with new incoming players from their protected list.  Here are some names to watch out for and what I have been able to find out.

From 2008, 2009:

Zane Gothberg - G, Thief River Falls (MN-HS)
Jimmy Mullin - F, Shattuck-St. Mary's (MN-HS)
Willie Corrin - D, International Falls (MN-HS)
Troy Hesketh - D, Minnetonka (MN-HS)
Corbin McGuire - F, Taft Prep School
AJ Jarosz - F, Team Illinois
Ryan Doner - F, Kent Valley Selects
Garrett Haar - D, LA Selects
Aaron Scheppelmann - D, S2 U18
Neil Goff - D, Stillwater (MH-HS)
Joe Basaraba - F, Shattuck-St. Mary's (MN-HS)

Most of the defensemen on this list won't make the roster with all of the defensemen the Force have coming back.  The two that will likely make the roster are Troy Hesketh and Willie Corrin.  Neil Goff will probably return to high school.  I haven't gotten any info on Haar or Scheppelmann but they were listed on Fargo's affiliate list according to Kerry Collins' blog.  AJ Jarosz, Corbin McGuire and Ryan Doner will all get good looks from the coaching staff to fill the voids at forward for the Force.

From 2010:

Tanner Kero - F, Marquette (NAHL)
Jimmy Murray - F, Chicago Mission
Daniel McNamara - F, Chicago Young Americans
Austin Farley - F, Chicago Mission
Tyler Maugeri - F, LA Jr. Kings
Tanner Lane - F, Detroit Lakes (MN-HS)
Jakob Batcha - F, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals
Dan Weissenhofer - D, Bismarck (NAHL)
Justin Wade - D, Chicago Mission
? - Dajon Mingo - F, Wenatchee (NAHL)
? - Chase Souto - F, LA Jr. Kings
? - Steven Beyers - F, Orangeville (CCHL)
? - Josh Lazowski - F, Spruce Grove (AJHL)
? - Riley Simpson - F, Brooks (AJHL)

All of these players have shown interest in playing for the Force next season if they can make the roster.  There are a lot of voids to fill at forward and head coach Steve Johnson drafted a lot of forwards in 2010 to fill the spots so many of these players have a shot.  A kid that we have talked a little bit in the comments section of the blog, Tanner Lane, even said that he would forgo his senior season at DL to play in Fargo.  Chase Souto, the youngest player selected by the Force in the 2010 drafts, said that he wants to play in the WHL, but if he was not able to play for Kamloops (WHL), he might be interested in playing a season in Fargo.  Also, when I talked to Dajon Mingo he didn't sound too certain if he was going to stay in Wenatchee or come to Fargo.  He said he really trusts his coaches in Wenatchee and likes playing there.  I also put question marks by our imports from Canada as they are always hard to predict as to whether they want to go the major junior route or even stay in Canada in their pursuit of a college scholarship.  With Hrbas not coming back, it does open the door for a couple of them to come in.  The Force can only add two imports for a total of three with the grandfather rule (would be only two if Yevenko was not coming back).

Tryouts are July 25-28 so everyone will be able to make their scouting reports after they are able to see the kids play.  Can't wait for 2010-11!


Fargo's Entry Draft Results

The USHL has completed the Entry Draft and Fargo's selections are shown below.  Fargo didn't select any defensemen until after they hit 23 players on their protected roster and that is not surprising at all to me as the Force return most of their defensemen next season and have a few players already coming in that were drafted last year (Willie Corrin from International Falls and Troy Hesketh from Minnetonka to name a couple of the most notable defensemen coming in).

13. Tanner Kero - C, Marquette (NAHL) - A kid that played junior hockey in the North American Hockey League with Marquette.  He scored 32 goals and added 19 assists for 51 points in 57 games with Marquette.  Having that year experience in the NAHL will do him wonders coming into Fargo next year.  Tanner is a Michigan Tech Huskie recruit.  Western College Hockey Blog thinks that this pick for Fargo was a steal as Kero led the NAHL in goals.  They also think that he could be a sleeper pick in the NHL Draft.  Check out their blog entry on the USHL Draft.

Oh...by the way...he scores game-winners! (video below)

27. Jimmy Murray - LW, Chicago Mission (MM) (from Cedar Rapids in Campbell trade) - The Force were able to trade Cody Campbell early in 2009-10 and now they got to see what they traded him for.  Jimmy Murray is a left winger from Chicago Mission's midget major team and he put up good numbers scoring 21 goals and adding 30 assists for 51 points in 42 games.  Murray is a small forward at 5'5, 130 lbs.

28. Daniel McNamara - LW, Chicago Young Americans (MM) - McNamara scored 8 and assisted on 13 for 21 points in 48 games for the Chicago Young Americans' midget major team.  McNamara has good size at 6'1, 170 lbs.

34. Austin Farley - LW, Chicago Mission (U16) (from Chicago in Gunner trade) - Once again the Force finally got to see what the result of their trade of Cole Gunner to Chicago would be and this time they picked up a young player out of Chicago Mission's midget minor program.  He averaged a point per game with the Mission scoring 19 and assisting on 19 for 38 points in 38 games last season with the Mission.  He's 5'5, 145 lbs and a late 1993 birthdate.

43. Tyler Maugeri - RW, Jr. Kings (MM) - 21 goals and 36 assists for Tyler Maugeri on the Jr. Kings midget major team this past season.  Maugeri is a California kid with Matt Leitner like numbers in midget majors.

44. Tanner Lane - F, Detroit Lakes (MN-HS) (from Omaha) - Tanner Lane was tied for the lead in Minnesota's point leaders with 90.  He was second to Joey Benik in goals with 49.  Detroit Lakes didn't have the toughest schedule in the world so Lane was able to light it up on a lot of weaker teams but he is a goal scorer nonetheless.  He was a junior this season with the Lakers so it would be interesting to see if he would want to make the 45 mile trek to Fargo to play in the USHL this season or stick around in Detroit Lakes for his senior season.

58. Steven Beyers - RW, Orangeville (CCHL) - Beyers had 11 goals and 12 assists in 16 games for Orangeville in the CCHL.  He is the 199th rated North American skater in this year's NHL Entry Draft.

73. Dajon Mingo - C, Wenatchee (NAHL) - Mingo has been playing in the North American Hockey League and would join the Force as an experienced junior hockey player.  He would only be eligible for the 2010-11 season as he just turned 20 years old this May.  He had 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points in 34 games with Wenatchee.  Mingo is 5'10, 170 lbs.

88. Josh Lazowski - C, Spruce Grove (AJHL) - Josh Lazowski put up huge numbers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season scoring 26 goals and assisting on 52 for 78 points in 55 games for Spruce Grove.

The Force then reached their 23-man protected roster which results in all of the passes you may see on the USHL Draft website.  Once a team gets to 23, they pass until all teams have reached 23, then they pick another 7 to fill the protected list.

223. Jakob Batcha - F, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals (NAPHL) - Batcha put up good numbers in the North American Prospects Hockey League with the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals midget major hockey team.  Batcha scored 21 and assisted on 31 for 52 points last season with the Jr. Admirals.  Batcha is a 6'1, 170 lb kid out of Fredonia, Wisconsin.

238. Garrett Schmitz - D, Red Lake Falls (MN-HS) - Schmitz led his Red Lake Falls high school team in points as a sophomore with 25 goals and 25 assists for 50 points from the blue line for RLF.  Sounds like he played on a pretty weak team and was the bright spot on the roster.

253. Chase Souto - F, Jr. Kings (U16) - Souto is the youngest player taken by the Force in the 2010 USHL Drafts (including USHL Entry and Futures drafts).  He is also a draft pick of the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in Canada (taken in the 5th round by the Blazers in 2009).  He scored 14 and dished 6 for 20 points in 35 games for the Jr. Kings (U16).

268. Dan Weissenhofer (Bismarck, NAHL and Lincoln, USHL) - Weissenhofer played with the Bismarck Bobcats and 14 games with the Lincoln Stars this season.  He scored 1 goal and dished 6 assists in the regular season (33 games).  He also had 3 assists with the Stars in 14 games.  He was good in the NAHL playoffs as he was +11 in 11 games, scoring one goal and adding an assist.

283. Austin Rudnick - D, Breck (MN-HS) - Rudnick was a sophomore this past season for the best team in Class A Minnesota high school hockey, Breck.  Rudnick scored 8 goals and had 14 assists for 22 points in 30 games.  In three state tournament games, Rudnick had a goal and an assist.

300. Riley Simpson - LW, Brooks (AJHL) - Here is an article about Riley Simpson.

317. Chad Demers - LW, Fargo (USHL) - Who is this guy?!  The Fargo Force forward was re-drafted in the USHL Entry Draft today because the Force must not have protected him.  The Force snatched him back up with the 317th pick in the Entry Draft.  Chad played really well down the stretch on Stampohar and Rehkamp's line.

Feel free to leave info on any of these kids if you have any!


Fargo's Futures Draft Results

The United States Hockey League completed the Futures Draft today and the Force loaded up with two defensemen and three forwards in the draft.  A couple of names that might be familiar to our Minnesota Force fans would be Monticello's Gage Torrel and Lakeville North's Nate Arentz who appeared in the MN-HS state tournament this year.

Fargo Force Futures Draft Results:

1. Justin Wade - D, Chicago Mission (U16) - Justin is a big kid for his age standing at 6'1 and 197 lbs as a 16 year old.  He played for the Chicago Mission (U16) midget hockey team this past season and recorded 12 assists in 34 games.  In his career with the Chicago Mission (1994 birth year and midget combined) he recorded 6 goals and 28 assists for 34 total points.  He has gotten some college looks and according to this site he has gotten significant offers from Wisconsin but has yet to sign.

2. Gage Torrel - LW, Monticello HS - Gage was the leading scorer on a sub-par Minnesota high school team this year with Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake.  He averaged more than a goal per game and nearly two points per game as a sophomore.  He finished the year with 26 goals and 19 assists for a total of 45 points.  His team only averaged 2.82 goals per game so you can see he was a big part of any success that they might have had.  Hey, he did score on future Force goaltender Zane Gothberg when his team took on the Prowlers of Thief River Falls. Gage will need to pack a few pounds on before coming to the Force as he is currently listed at 5'9, 158 lbs.

3. Nate Arentz - LW, Lakeville North HS - The third selection for the Force is a kid that led his team to a MN-HS state hockey tournament appearance but were beaten by the number one team in the state at the time, Minnetonka.  As a sophomore he led the team in goals with 18 and was tied for fourth in assists with 10 giving him 28 total points.  He is another kid that will need to beef up before heading a Force roster at 5'11 and 158 lbs.

4. Ben Johnson - C, Calumet HS (Michigan) - The fourth selection for the Force is an elite goal scorer for his age in Michigan high school hockey.  In 29 games with the Calumet Copper Kings, Johnson netted 29 and assisted on another 30 for 59 points as a sophomore.  That was good enough to lead his team in points and a winning record at 17-12.  He averaged over two points a game on a team that averaged 3.21 goals a game - pretty impressive for a sophomore.  Johnson stands at 5'10, 160 lbs.

5. Drew Best - RW, Victory Honda (U16) - Best stands at 5'8, 160 lbs for Victory Honda (U16).  Best scored 13 goals and dished out 21 assists for 34 points.  If you want to pay some money you can find out what some scouts think of him but other than that, there is not much info out there on this kid.

6. Wayland Williams - D, Compuware (U16) - Wayland is a tall kid for his age standing at 6'0, 165 lbs.  He scored 9 goals and added 5 assists at the blue line for Compuware (U16).  Some scouts have already reported him as a top 25 defensmen in the United States.  I'll guess we'll see when he puts on a Force uniform.


USHL Drafts start this week

Usually the USHL holds two drafts but with the addition of Dubuque and Muskegon this year, the USHL will hold three.  Dubuque and Muskegon will participate in the Expansion Draft and the entire league will participate in the Futures Draft and the Entry Draft.

The USHL Expansion Draft will start Monday, May 17 around noon central time after Muskegon and Dubuque receives a list of unprotected players currently on USHL rosters.
The USHL Futures Draft will begin Tuesday, May 18 at 10:00am CST.
The USHL Entry Draft will begin Wednesday, May 19 at 10:00am CST.

The Futures Draft is a five or six round process in which USHL teams will pick five players, usually for the future (although one or two players may make the roster this year), from the 1994 draft class.

The Entry Draft is the main draft in which USHL teams form their roster.

For more information on the USHL drafts, see the links above and visit the USHL website.

FOR LIVE DRAFT COVERAGE: Check out the SBNation coverage of the USHL Draft helped out by our friend at Unofficial USHL Prospects Blog.

UPDATE:  Fargo Force did not lose anyone to the USHL Expansion Draft today.  Fargo, Omaha and Sioux Falls were lucky enough to hang on to their guys.  Thanks to Tri-City radio announcer, Skip Berry for the information.


In-Forum: Fargo Force articles

An article will be featured in the Fargo Forum in the morning about the Fargo Force's "wild ride" to the Clark Cup Finals and also a "Fargo Force by the numbers" section to look out for.  You can check them out in the links below:

Pretty good article done by Kerry Collins of the Fargo Forum.  Only thing is that 8,487 isn't the largest crowd to see a USHL game, Indiana had a "Pack the House" night in which they had 11,092 fans pack Conseco Fieldhouse in Indiana.  However, the attendance of 8,487 is the biggest crowd to ever see a Clark Cup Finals game.  Enjoy!


USHL scouts eyeing area players

The USHL has their eye on a number of area hockey players in the youth/high school hockey ranks and here is the players to look out for from North Dakota and some Minnesotans that might even end up on a Fargo Force roster.  We will be watching for the Force to get some of the talent from North Dakota and the surrounding area in Minnesota.

First of all, there are a couple of links from the USHL that are highlighting these players:
USHL Prospects on display at USHL Combine (1992-93s)
USHL Future on display at USHL Combine (1994s)

There are many other North Dakota and Minnesota players that will be drafted into the USHL, I am just highlighting the players that were invited to the USHL Combine.  No doubt there are others that are deserving of being listed and once they are drafted, I will write another blurb about the area kids being drafted.  This is just who was on the USHL Combine lists and deserving of a preview going into the USHL Drafts next week.


Michael Bond (D) Fargo South 1993 - Bond played in 24 games as a sophomore for the Fargo South Bruins (HS) logging two assists.  Bond has the right size for this league at 6'2, 183 lbs and being a Fargo kid will give him some exposure to the Fargo Force.

Jace Kusler (F) Bismarck Century 1993 - Kusler finished the North Dakota state high school hockey season third in points as a junior with 25 goals and 27 assists for the Bismarck Century Patriots (HS).  Kusler is 5'11 and 155 lbs.  Associate coach Byron Pool has probably seen his share of Kusler in his two years as head coach of the Bismarck Bobcats and may make a push for the Force to draft the North Dakota boy.  (Photo of Jace Kusler on right: Tom Stromme, Bismarck Tribune)

Jeremy O'Keefe (D) Grand Forks Central 1992 - Steve Johnson played for Grand Forks Central (HS) and O'Keefe played with Steve Johnson's kid, Luke Johnson, so this is a kid that Johnson should be familiar with. O'Keefe logged 8 goals and 12 assists on the blue line for the Knights and may be a North Dakota player drafted in the USHL.  O'Keefe was a junior this past year with GFC.

Quin Buckellew (F) Moorhead 1992 - Buckellew was the leader in goals with 15 last year with the Moorhead Spuds (HS) hockey team across the river from the Fargo Force.  Buckellew is only 5'10 but has some size at 210 lbs.  He could be a local kid that may interest the Force coaching staff.  (Quin Buckellew, shown on right)

Ryan Crosson (D) Thief River Falls 1992 - Crosson may be tempted to join his high school teammate and goaltender Zane Gothberg in the USHL next season and Crosson appears to be a kid that might be ready for the jump.  Crosson was third in points on the Thief River Falls Prowlers (HS) hockey team as a junior defenseman.  Crosson stands at 5'10, 170 lbs.  Thanks to an anonymous poster in the comments, Crosson appears to be headed for the BCHL and this article confirms that.  A USHL team could still take a chance on trying to get him in the USHL with a late draft pick.

Alex Phelps (F) Detroit Lakes 1992 - Phelps is only a short 45 mile drive away from Fargo in Detroit Lakes and was second on the Detroit Lakes Lakers (HS) in scoring with 21 goals and 36 assists in 24 games.  Phelps graduates from high school this year and the USHL would be a good option to continue his hockey career.


Garrett Brossart (F) Fargo South 1994 - Brossart was the only freshman to crack the Fargo South Bruins (HS) lineup.  He is another Fargo boy that may be enticed to stay in his hometown.  He netted one goal and added 4 assists as the Bruins' youngest player on the roster.  Brossart is 5'11, 145 lbs.  (Garrett Brossart, shown on right)

Luke Johnson (F) Grand Forks Central 1994 - The son of Fargo Force coach Steve Johnson and Lincoln Stars' draftee would be an intriguing option for Fargo if the Stars have not protected the Grand Forks Central (HS) sniper.  Johnson started as an 8th grader on the Grand Forks Red River (HS) squad and transferred to Central, where his dad played high school hockey, this year.  He won a state championship with both teams and had 17 goals and 29 assists as a freshman with GFC this season.  He tried out for the USNTDP U-17 team but I'm not sure if he made the team or not.  One way or another, he will likely be playing in this league (either for the Force, the Stars, or the USNTDP) sometime in his career.  (Luke Johnson, shown on right)

Zach Doerring (F) Blake School 1994 - Doerring may be a familiar name with Fargo Force fans as Zach's brother Blake started the season with the Force but was later traded to the Des Moines Buccaneers.  His younger brother Zach played forward and scored 5 goals and 4 assists as a sophomore with the Blake School Bears (HS).


Force hire new associate coach

According to the Fargo Hockey Examiner, the Fargo Force have made a move in the coaching ranks by going out and replacing Chad Johnson, who is leaving Fargo for the head coaching job in Lincoln, with Byron Pool.  Pool was the head coach for the Bismarck Bobcats the past two years and took the Bobcats to the Robertson Cup in both years including a championship this year (2010).

Check out Tim How's article for all the news on the hiring.

Sounds like the Force have hired another guy to keep the winning tradition going and a likeable coach to play for.  Massa and Rendle gave Pool high praises in the Examiner article so he sounds like a good pick up for the Force.

Check out this article from the Bismarck Tribune on the coaching changes.