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Magicians’ Roster narrows after Main Camp Weekend

By frederick61, 07/30/13, 12:00PM CDT


A White team forward breaks down the slot in the Magicians’ all star game played last weekend at the Richfield Ice Arena. This view is typical of what the fans will see sitting in the west stands behind the goalie.

This past weekend, the Minnesota Magicians held their main camp at the Richfield Ice Arena.  After months of looking at junior aged hockey players from all over the world, the Magician’s staff has reduced its roster to 22 players coming out of the main camp, four potential players borne outside the USA and 5 players currently undecided.  Out of these 31 players, 23 will be picked to be on the Magicians inaugural roster.

By position, the Magicians are likely to carry 3 goalies, 7- 8 defense men, and 11-12 forwards on their roster during the season.  Like most NAHL teams, the Magician’s roster will experience some change, but Magicians’ coaching staff wants as little change as possible once the 2013-2014 season progresses.
After last weekend’s tryouts, the Magician’s roster looks to be about half players from the Minnesota high school ranks.  With the Wilderness trending toward older players and selecting more broadly from all over the USA, the Magician’s are likely to get tagged as the “true Minnesota team” by other teams in the NAHL.  As a result, they will be targets on away trips (especially in Texas) and loudly cheered at home.

The Magicians starting goalie position is solved after last weekend.  Bryan Nies will be the starter.  Nies played high school for Red River (North Dakota).  He is a veteran NAHL goalie playing 24 games for the Bismarck Bobcats in the 2012-2013 season.  Nies posted a 11-7-3 record in 24 starts for the Bobcats giving up an average of 2.5 goals per game and stopping 91% of the shots on goal.  He had a solid tryout.

The Magician’s coach Scott Meyer believes he will go with 7-8 defense men and 11-12 forwards.  The final number will depend what happens in August.  The Magicians have until September 1 to get to 25 players and then have until October 1 to get to 23 players.

At defense, Derick Kuchera had a great tryout (our opinion) at defense, constantly controlling the flow of the game by gaining control of the puck and isolating himself to set up the offensive breakout.  He is an excellent passer.  Kuchera played NAHL hockey with the Wenatchee Wild last season appearing in 50 games and scoring 12 points (1 goal).  He will be joining the Magicians this season.  Kuchera played hockey for Eagan High School in the 2010-2011 season.

Joining Kuchera at defense is Joey Kleven/Prior Lake High School, T. J. Samec/St. Thomas High School and Logan Von Ruden/Northfield High School.  Von Ruden will skip his senior year for the Raiders and play for the Magicians.  He has size and played well in the tryouts.  The 6’2” Samec was solid for the Cadets in their run for a third straight Minnesota Class A title last year and had a solid tryout.

Offensively, Matt Colford, Breck High School’s leading scorer last season will be on the team.  Colford is a heady smart skating center.  He will be joined by Travis Koepke, a 23 goal scorer (in 22 games) for Hermantown High School’s Class A runner-up team.  That Hawks team beat Colford’s Breck team 4-3 in double overtime in the state tourney Class A semifinal game last March and next day lost to Samec’s St. Thomas team 5-4  in the championship game.

Mario Bianchi will play for the Magicians.  Bianchi was the #8 scorer in the state last season with 69 points in 25 games (26 goals) playing for Holy Angels.  He will join Colford, the #10 scorer in the state.  Colford ended the regular season with 67 points in 25 games (30 goals).

Nick Uglem will be playing for the Magicians.  Nick was a top scorer for the Moorhead Spuds in their run for the Class AA state title last March.  Uglem’s team ended up with the Class AA Consolation Title.  Jefferson’s Colin Hernon is also on the team.  Hernon had 24 goals in 25 regular season games for the Jags.

The Magicians will line up against some tough Midwest Division teams these year.  They will face the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, the Kenai River Brown Bears (with new coach Geoff Beauparlant), the Coulee Region (Lacrosse WI), the Wenatchee Wild (Washington) and the Minnesota Wilderness (Cloquet).

All six Midwest Division teams will open play September 18at the Super Rink in Blaine.  All 24 NAHL teams will play their first four 2013-2014 season games from Wednesday to Saturday.  The Magicians draw the Wichita Falls Wildcats, the Michigan Warriors, the Wenatchee Wild and the Odessa Jackalopes (love that nickname).  Only the Wenatchee Wild team didn’t struggle last year, but all four teams are beatable.  Wichita Falls, Michigan and Odessa failed to make the playoffs.  The Wild team this year is a new team, the team that won last year left Washington for the Rio Grande and are now the Killer Bees.

When Coach Meyer was asked if his team could win the Showcase Trophy given each year to the team with the best record at the Super Rink Showcase, Meyers thought it would be a nice start, but paused and added it would be more of a dream for a new team.

NAHL Showcase Schedule

Wednesday, September 18th

10:00 AM, Fairbanks Ice Dogs vs. Springfield Jr. Blues

10:15 AM, Texas Tornado vs. Kenai River Brown Bears

1:15 PM, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees vs. Coulee Region Chill

1:30 PM, Wenatchee Wild vs. Topeka RoadRunners

1:45 PM, Wichita Falls Wildcats vs. Minnesota Magicians

8:00 PM, Odessa Jackalopes vs. Minnesota Wilderness

Thursday, September 19th

10:15 AM, Minnesota Magicians vs. Michigan Warriors

1:30 PM, Fairbanks Ice Dogs vs. Soo Eagles

5:00 PM, Corpus Christi IceRays vs. Coulee Region Chill

7:45 PM, Wenatchee Wild vs. Minnesota Wilderness

8:00 PM, Kenai River Brown Bears vs. Janesville Jets

Friday, September 20th

1:30 PM, Amarillo Bulls vs. Kenai River Brown Bears

4:30 PM, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs

5:00 PM, Minnesota Wilderness vs. Corpus Christi IceRays

7:45 PM, Coulee Region Chill vs. Wichita Falls Wildcats

8:15 PM, Minnesota Magicians vs. Wenatchee Wild

Saturday, September 21st

12:15 PM, Minnesota Wilderness vs. Springfield Jr. Blues

3:45 PM, Odessa Jackalopes vs. Minnesota Magicians

6:45 PM, Texas Tornado vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs

7:00 PM, Kenai River Brown Bears vs. Brookings Blizzard

7:15 PM, Coulee Region Chill vs. Wenatchee Wild

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