Most kids who were taken in Tuesday’s USHL Futures Draft were probably huddled around a computer with family watching to see where they’d be taken.
Some were probably doing whatever they normally do on a Tuesday. Andrew Blumer falls under that category as he was playing in a high school baseball doubleheader when he was drafted by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the sixth round.
“I asked my dad during the game for a Gatorade and he showed me the news of where I had been drafted,” Blumer said. “Being drafted was great. I was dehydrated so getting the Gatorade was great too but the getting drafted was huge and exciting.”
“Huge” is something that could easily describe the 6-5 Blumer, who was a defense at Fargo South this season. “Exciting”, in the case of Sioux Falls, is something the team hopes Blumer can be when he arrives to the team.
Blumer was on the radar earlier in the year of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. It is a program which fosters what is considered to be the nation’s best talent and trains them for two years in the hopes of being America’s future NHL stars.
He didn’t receive an invite from the NTDP and if he would have, he’d have been the third player in North Dakota’s history to play for the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based program.
Even still, Blumer is happy with knowing he has a chance to play and develop in the USHL, which two years ago sent 98 percent of its players to Division I colleges.
“College hockey is a great accomplishment,” Blumer said. “I’ve always wanted to play at North Dakota and it has always been my dream. If baseball takes me there or hockey takes me there, it is a dream I want to pursue.”
Blumer, who is a pitcher and a shortstop, said he’ll play next season – his junior year – for the South/Shanley co-op and then look at making the jump the USHL.
He wants to play one more year so he can have a chance to work on a few items such as his speed before heading into the USHL where he will see undoubtedly faster, stronger and better talent.
Blumer’s approach is similar to many drafted in the Futures Draft. Nearly half of last year’s first-round picks didn’t play in the USHL as the Futures Draft is seen as a chance for younger players to develop and then in a year or two, advance to the league.
“I am a big guy and cannot move that fast and the game was faster this year than it was in bantams,” said Blumer, who has a year of high school hockey under his belt. “At first, it was really fast jumping from bantams to high school but I thought I got used to it. I am not 100 percent of the way there and I want to come back next year and improve getting faster and quicker and hopefully slowing down the game and making better decisions.”
When the time comes for Blumer to arrive in Sioux Falls, he could be walking into what could be a good situation.
Sioux Falls was the youngest and least experienced team in the league. They finished with the worst record in the Western Conference but appear to have the pieces in place to be better next season.
The Stampede, which also have former Moorhead forward Eric Brenk, also had a strong Futures Draft and in two years could be a realistic threat to win the Western Conference.
“I didn’t think I was going to get drafted to tell you the truth,” Blumer said. “But it all worked out. I had never talked to (Sioux Falls). I had talked to some other guys but I am glad they drafted me.”