Three promising sophomores are leaving their respective high schools to join the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Defensman Gage Ausmus (East Grand Forks), goaltender Hunter Miska (North Branch) and forward Luke Voltin (Hill-Murray) will be teammates in Ann Arbor, Mich., next season. They will join forward Hudson Fasching (Apple Valley) who committed to the USNTDP in March.
Voltin skated a regular shift and was a key contributor for a Hill-Murray team that held the state’s No. 1 ranking for much of the season’s second half.
The Pioneers finished 21-3-1 and were upset in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship game. Voltin scored 13 goals and added 18 assists. The 6-foot, 175-pound Voltin played his youth hockey in Blaine before attending Hill-Murray, a private school in Maplewood.
Ausmus contributed four goals and 12 assists to an East Grand Forks team that finished 9-14-1.
Miska saw plenty of action in net for the Vikings (7-19-0). He stopped 993 of 1,110 shots on goal for a .895 saves percentage. His father, Todd, has earned national acclaim as a designer and painter of goaltender helmets.
“Hunter couldn’t wipe the smile off his face,” Todd said of his son’s reaction to earning an invitation to play in Ann Arbor. “North Branch isn’t a big hockey school, so with the talent he’s got (the USNTDP) is a perfect fit for him to excel. But North Branch got him to where he’s at. He saw a lot of shots.”