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‘99 Jack Bostedt spent three seasons with the Mullets before earning a spot at NCAA St. Scholastica

All The Way From “Pay to Play” To The NCAA

By Chris Walby, 07/16/21, 10:00AM CDT


What To Do When The USHL And NAHL Don’t Want You, But You Still Want To Play

MINNEAPOLIS —  It’s that time of year again. The NAHL just had their draft and hundreds of Minnesota high school hockey players are crushed they didn’t get drafted. What’s next?

Unfortunately, it’s sad. The majority of them will quit and “just go to school.”  It’s true. Now entering my tenth season of Junior A hockey, I’ve watched this trend continue and shake my head at the number of Minnesotans who give up the game they allegedly love and enroll in school for the fall.

There is a stigma here in the “State of Hockey” that if you don’t make the United States Hockey League (USHL) or North American Hockey League (NAHL), that you’re no good and even more absurd is that you’re above having to pay to play hockey and should just go to school.

I learned early that this was a huge obstacle to overcome while recruiting Minnesota players, but have managed to talk some sense into a few of them. They realize they love the game too much to quit.  Most of those stories have a great ending that entails them playing NCAA Division lll hockey and living life without the regret of quitting.

My message and the point of this article is simple.  If you love to play the game, keep playing.  Our tuition here and most places is affordable if you get a job and put the work in.  That in itself builds character and players appreciate the experience each season even more .

With a ton of hard work and a coach who believes in you, you can make it to the NCAA.  You can earn a spot on a college roster.  You can earn a spot on a college roster and compete with and against those same players that were picked over you in the USHL and NAHL.

Lastly, I’ll end on this and several players will agree with me.  Junior hockey is one of the most memorable times in a player’s life.  You get to travel the country, play in big games in front of big crowds and you’re treated pretty well.  Way above all of that, you forge lifelong friendships, you face and figure out tough life lessons on your own and you learn how to compete.

You are older, wiser, more mature and better equipped for college in comparison to the average 18 year old freshman and that leads to a successful college career and that leads to making it in the real world.

Below is a list of players that all paid to play.

Chris Walby Alumni & NCAA Commitments

Ben Borreson - Marian University (ACHA)

Nick Solema - Finlandia University

Darren Shykes - Finlandia University

Ryan Wolf - University of Mary (ACHA)

Blake Gutterman - Finlandia University 

Matt Bilsborough - Marian Univeristy (ACHA)

Aaron Moots - Bethel University (ACHA)

Jake Lindblom - Bethel Univeristy

Luke Wright - Waldorf University (ACHA)

Tyler Perkins - Finlandia University 

Niko Sinatra - St. Norbert College (ACHA)

Morgan Sweeney - Waldorf University (ACHA)

Sebastian Frank - Gustavus Adolphus College

Cooper Hoheisel - Gustavus Adolphus College

Jack Bostedt - Saint Scholastica 

Joe Brophy - Nazareth College

Leo Iaboni - University of Michigan (ACHA)

Castor Mattos - Grand Canyon University (ACHA)

Hayden Ripley - Ohio University (ACHA) 

Nate Holm - Northland College

Tyler Morrison - Northland College

Tommy Strelow - University of Colorado Boulder (ACHA)

Tyler Chalupsky - Concordia Milwaukee

Dalton L'Allier - Utah State University (ACHA)

Jon Hansen - Saint Scholastica

Jack Scott – University of Louisville (ACHA)

Garrett Medina – Calvin College (ACHA)

Sean Mallak – Chatham University

Michael Crowley - West Chester Univeristy - (ACHA)

*Logan Froberg - St. Norbert College

*Tristyn Sabina - St. John's University

Alex Mimmack - Concordia - Moorehead

Jake Ellingson - Concordia – Moorehead

Kyle Carignan – Marian University

Eric Madison – Neumann University

Anthony Pupplo – Neumann University

Daniel Sarnecki – Finlandia University

Jason Reynolds – Northland College

Will Fobair – Weber State (ACHA)

Noah Anderson – Elmira College

Matt O’dea – Concordia Moorehead

Devin Tappenden –St. Thomas University

Max Seiter – Finlandia University

Thomas Fazio – Marian University

*Evan Bennett – Salem State College

Evan Erickson – Gustavus Adolphus College

Seth Chumley – Saint Scholastica

Alex Rezansoff – Finlandia University

Eric Majerle – Hamline University

Alex Reichle – Concordia Moorehead

Austin Frank – Lawrence University

*T.J. Samec - RPI

Matt Audet – Western New England College

Trevor Hoth – Aurora University

Jonathon Losurdo – Saint Mary’s

Jay Routheau – Northland College

Joey Haydock – UW Stevens Point

Chase Hollander – UW Stout

Kyle Fink – Concordia Milwaukee

*Luke Karakas - St. Norbert College

*Nick Lesage - St. Norbert College

Nolan Holcombe – Gustavus Adolphus College

Myles Beason – China Dragon (Asian League)

*Drew Decker – Utah State University (ACHA)

*Player played one more year of juniors on another team after his year with Coach Walby