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USA Hockey prospects game to showcase some of Minnesota's top-tier hockey talent

By Ricky Campbell, SportsEngine, 09/17/18, 5:30PM CDT

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Trevor Janicke and Ethan Frisch are two of the 10 players from the State of Hockey on the rosters for Wednesday's event at the Xcel Energy Center.


Trevor Janicke, of Maple Grove, is one of 10 Minnesotans hoping to catch the eye of an NHL scout by participating in USA Hockey's 2018 All-American Prospects Game on Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center. Photo by Rena Laverty, USA Hockey


Click for more information on the game.

Minnesota hockey standouts Trevor Janicke and Ethan Frisch have skated on the Xcel Energy Center’s ice sheet before.

Janicke, a Maple Grove native, was a child when he played in an exhibition contest at the arena. That was years prior to his freshman season with the Crimson varsity team, when he posted 38 points in 28 games. He joined the USA National Team Development Program shortly afterward.

Frisch was a member of a Moorhead team that faced Grand Rapids in the 2017 Class 2A title game at the X, where he notched an assist in a 6-3 loss to the Thunderhawks. He then joined the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers last year to play junior hockey. 

Janicke and Frisch have followed different paths while pursuing their hockey careers, but both hope another game on the surface that was central to those moments will provide each with one more identical memory: Being selected in the 2019 NHL draft. 

Some of the projected top picks in the 2019 NHL Draft dot the rosters of both teams, including Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.), who is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick.

Ten Minnesotans were selected to participate, including University of Minnesota freshman and former Edina standout Ben Brinkman, Duluth East forward and North Dakota commit Ryder Donovan and Roseau forward Aaron Huglen, a Minnesota commit.

Minnesotans playing in the All-American Prospects Game

Name Position Hometown 2018-19 Team
Ben Brinkman Defenseman Edina University of Minnesota (Big Ten)
Ethan Frisch Defenseman Moorhead Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Drew Helleson Defenseman Farmington U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL)
Michael Koster Defenseman Chaska Tri-City Storm (USHL)/Chaska High (USHS)
Kaden Bohlsen Forward Willmar Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Ryder Donovan Forward Duluth Duluth East
Aaron Huglen Forward Roseau Roseau
Trevor Janicke Forward Maple Grove Central Illinois Flying Aces (USHL)
Garrett Pinoniemi Forward Mound Holy Family Catholic (USHS)
Grant Silianoff Forward Edina Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)

The prestigious event boasts alumni such as Buffalo Sabres' Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie) and Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser (Burnsville), along with six first-round picks from this year’s NHL draft. 

It’s the first time in the event’s seven-year history that the game is being played outside New York or Pennsylvania, and Janicke said this return to Minnesota is more than a business trip. 

“It’ll be nice to be back home and see some family,” Janicke said. 

For players such as Janicke and Frisch, who might not have had the same exposure as Hughes, Brinkman and Donovan, the game is a way to display their talents with the hope of catching a scout’s eye. Janicke, projected by Future Considerations (an online international scouting service based in Canada) as the No. 100 overall prospect, believes he can still do more to reach the next level and his potential.

“The last two years (in the USNDTP) have been hard and great,” said Janicke, a 17-year-old forward committed to Notre Dame. While Janicke might not be the top-ranked American prospect, he can still compete with the best. “I know I can play better.”

Janicke, who plans to spend next season with the USHL’s Central Illinois Flying Aces, said the prospects game is an opportunity to spotlight how USA Hockey’s development system helps players improve.

“You just learn to play the game of hockey,” he said about his time in the program. “You’re treated like a pro, and you don’t have that in a lot of places in the country.”

Ethan Frisch, a defeseman from Moorhead, looks at USA Hockey's All-American Prospects Game as an opportunity to display his talent to NHL scouts. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

Ethan Frisch, a defeseman from Moorhead, looks at USA Hockey's All-American Prospects Game as an opportunity to display his talent to NHL scouts. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

“Excellence is really head-on in Moorhead,” he said. “It’s a great environment for kids who love the game of hockey.”

Frisch’s attitude is one Langenbrunner finds familiar. In his role with the Bruins, he works closely with young prospects similar to the types he’ll be coaching on Wednesday, and Langenbrunner said he’s aware players are under pressure to perform — whether it’s from themselves or someone else — but he’ll tell them to try to soak in the experience.

It’s a unique opportunity, he added, no matter how the American prospects got there.

“The major thing is, one, enjoy the journey,” Langenbrunner said. “And two, don’t be in too big of a hurry (to turn pro).”

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