Sure the Fargo Force appeared to have done well in the USHL Futures Draft on Tuesday but so did a few hockey players across the state of North Dakota.
Three North Dakotans were taken in the Futures Draft, which allows USHL teams to take the top 16-year-old players in the United States. The Force got things rolling when it drafted Minot’s Mason Morelli with the third overall pick.
Morelli said by phone his father, Matt, texted him during school today and hoped he’d be taken by the Force and stay in his home state. The 5-11, 185-pound Morelli is the grandson of Reg Morelli, a member of the 1958-59 North Dakota national championship hockey team. Morelli’s father also played four seasons at UND and his uncle played at Concordia.
Morelli played this past season at Minot High School before playing in the NAHL with Minot’s recently-created franchise.
He became the second North Dakotan as many years to be taken in the first round of the Futures Draft. Lincoln drafted fellow Minot product Alex Schoenborn, who signed a contract to play with the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League forgoing his college eligibility.
The Force finished out the draft by taking forward Michael Booth, defenseman Sal Filice, forward River Rymsha and defenseman Steven Quagliata with the last pick.
Grand Forks Red River winger Jake Benson was taken in the fifth round by the Dubuque Fighting Saints, which won the Clark Cup title last season.
Fargo South’s Andrew Blumer was then taken in the sixth round by the Sioux Falls Stampede, which had its pick a few spots before the Force’s. The 6-5 Blumer attracted attention early with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program scouting him during the season.
Blumer was taken by the Stampede, an organization which has created local ties with Moorhead players such as current forward and former Spuds center Eric Brenk.
The South defenseman was actually playing in a doubleheader on Tuesday night as he was drafted by the Stampede.
Read more in Wednesday’s Forum about the draft.