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Wilderness draft, host tryout camp

One of the top scorers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League was the top pick for the Minnesota Wilderness in the June 15 NAHL draft. The Wilderness selected Elliot Dutil from the Notre Dame Hounds as the 30th overall pick in the draft. Dutil, a native of Montreal, had an impressive rookie season, piling up 37 goals, 30 assists and 67 points in 58 games for the Hounds. His totals were good enough for second in the SJHL in goals and fourth in the league in points.

The Wilderness selections also included former Grand Rapids High School Thunderhawks standout Easton Young. In 2021-22, Young finished second in scoring and led all defensemen, with 50 points.

The 11th and final player taken by the Wilderness was another Minnesotan and defenseman. Maple Grove native Jacob Hicks is a veteran who spent most of last season with Granite City of the North American 3 Hockey League.

Each player selected in the draft was invited to participate in the Wilderness’ main tryout camp scheduled for June 28-30 at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. They were to be joined by 11 other newcomers already tendered by Minnesota, eight players protected from the 2021-22 roster and others invited through pre-draft camps held over the last three weeks.

The NAHL 2022-23 season will begin in September.

The Wilderness opened its main three-day training camp this week with 135 players expected to attend. It was set to conclude Thursday with an all-star game at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. Camp participants were divided into six teams that played each other in a round-robin format. Those who made the all-star game will be invited to the season-opening training camp later this summer. All NAHL teams must have rosters reduced to 25 players by Sept. 1.

Schedule released

The North American Hockey League released its 2022-23 season schedule and the Cloquet-based Minnesota Wilderness will begin the campaign with its first 15 games played in Minnesota, and 10 of those contests will be in Cloquet.

The team’s 10th season in the NAHL will begin Sept. 9 at home against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

St. Cloud will be the only in-state opponent for the Wilderness this season. There will not be any trips to Richfield, as the Minnesota Magicians were sold and relocated to Eagle River, Wisconsin to become the Wisconsin Windigo.

Minnesota will finally leave on its first major road trip in early November, with games in Alaska.

Minnesota will continue its tradition of playing a home game the night before Thanksgiving, against the Chippewa Steel. The regular season ends on April 15.