Casey Mittelstadt is the high school boys’ hockey national Player of the Year, USA Today announced Tuesday.
The Eden Prairie star and Gophers recruit earned the All-USA Player of the Year honor for the second straight year after closing out his prep career with a standout senior season. Mittelstadt scored 23 goals and had 49 assists while leading his team back to the state tournament for a chance at redemption.
Grand Rapids coach Trent Klatt, a former Gophers star and NHL forward that spent time with the North Stars, was named USA Today’s national Coach of the Year. The Thunderhawks won the Class 2A state title for the program’s first championship since 1980.
Mittelstadt and the Eagles lost in the Class 2A state semifinals to Klatt and Grand Rapids. Eden Prairie finished in third place with Mittelstadt scoring his 82nd and final high school goal in the consolation game.
Mittelstadt surprised many throughout the hockey community when he decided to return for another season of high school competition. The 6-1, 201-pound forward could have skipped his senior year to play full-time in the USHL or enroll at the University of Minnesota to begin his college hockey career early.
Instead, Mittelstadt eyed redemption after losing in the 2016 Class 2A state championship game to Wayzata. Though he fell two wins short of a storybook ending, he was honored as the Star Tribune’s All-Metro Player of the Year, Minnesota Mr. Hockey, and now the two-time national Player of the Year. He also won the award after his junior season. Last week, Mittelstadt was ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 3 North American skater available in the upcoming draft.
“A lot was made out about me only coming back to win a state tournament. In my eyes it was all about another 5 months with the kids I love and grew up with,” Mittelstadt wrote on Twitter after the semifinal loss to Grand Rapids. “So much goes into winning, and sometimes things just don’t go your way. Laying it on the line with my brothers will be the best memories of my entire life.”
Along with Mittelstadt and Klatt, seven Minnesota prep hockey stars were selected to the All-USA boys’ hockey teams.
Grand Rapids junior forward Gavin Hain and Hermantown senior defenseman Dylan Samberg were First-Team selections with Mittelstadt. Delano senior forward Ben Meyers and Elk River senior defenseman Nick Perbix were named to the Second Team. Stillwater senior forward Noah Cates, Eden Prairie senior defenseman Nicky Leivermann and Hill-Murray senior goalie Jake Begley were Third Team All-USA selections.