Tiptoe…

Get to know the name Andrew Blumer.

Blumer is a sophomore at Fargo South who was apparently being looked at by USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. The NTDP, as its often known, collects what is considered to be the nation’s best talent and cultivates them into NHL hopefuls.

The NTDP sends scouts across the nation to find talent for its selection camp in Ann Arbor, Mich. It is at this camp where 40 to 50 of the nation’s best 15-and/or 16-year-old players, depending on the birthday, work their way onto the team.

Blumer was not invited to the camp this year but having NTDP scouts look at him is a big deal given the state of North Dakota has only produced two players good enough to play at the NTDP.

Minot’s Quinn Fylling, who played at North Dakota, was the first player in state history to play at the NTDP. The most recent is Devils Lake standout and former Force defenseman Keaton Thompson (North Dakota), who just finished his first season at the program.

“There’s potential there,” said Fargo Force chief scout Jesse Davis about Blumer. “He’s also a baseball player and because of the season hasn’t had the chance to skate with us.”

Davis, who is also an assistant with the Force, spoke Monday about a story in today’s Forum looking at the steps North Dakota high school hockey players go through to get noticed by college and junior coaches.

He was addressing a question he’s commonly asked about why don’t the Force have more Fargo-area players on their roster. While answering the question he mentioned Blumer.

Davis said NTDP scouts were at Scheels Arena during the high school hockey season and scouted him during a game either against West Fargo or state power Grand Forks Red River.

It is conceivable Blumer could be selected in next week’s USHL Futures Draft, which is a draft used to select the premier 15-and/or-16-year old players in the nation.

“He’s a kid guys know about,” Davis said.

The 6-5 Blumer played in 24 games last season and had two assists for the South/Shanley co-op which went 12-12.

Blumer being on the NTDP’s radar, however, does signify the growth which exists among North Dakota’s youth hockey scene. The Force resume its Western Conference semi-final series against the Lincoln Stars which feature Grand Forks’ natives Luke Johnson and Paul Ladue, who are both North Dakota commits. The Force also have former Mr. Hockey winner, Williston’s Jordan Nelson, on its roster.

Minot’s Alex Schoenborn, who was set to play for the Stars next year, opted out of playing in the USHL by signing with the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League a few months ago.

The Winterhawks are a Major Junior team which means Schoenborn forgoes his college eligibility. But the Winterhawks, as of late, have become one of Major Junior’s better franchises having won 40 or more games the last three years and have produced four first-round NHL Draft picks since 2010.

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