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Three former Gophers trying to make their mark in Wild's development camp

Their college season didn’t end anywhere near the way they wanted, with an overtime loss to Notre Dame in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. But hockey life goes on, and three former Gophers are taking the next step in their careers at the Wild’s development camp this week at TRIA Rink.

Forward Tyler Sheehy and goalie Mat Robson are participating in the camp for the second consecutive season, while defenseman Jack Sadek is back for his fifth go-round.

“It might be a world record,’’ joked Sadek, a seventh-round draft pick by the Wild in 2015.

Each player is in a different stage of his development with the organization. Sheehy, the Gophers’ captain the past two seasons, is an invitee to camp after signing an amateur tryout agreement with the AHL’s Iowa Wild and playing in five games following the end of Minnesota’s season. Robson, the Gophers’ primary starter the past two seasons, gave up his senior season to sign the Wild organization and likely is bound for Iowa in the fall. Sadek signed an amateur tryout agreement with Iowa and got a taste of Double-A hockey, playing two games for the Wild’s ECHL affiliate, the Allen (Texas) Americans.

“This week really is about learning, having a little fun and getting to know everybody,’’ said Sheehy, a Burnsville native.

An All-America selection following a 53-point sophomore season in 2016-17, Sheehy slumped to 25 points the following season, in large part because of a back injury that required surgery. He rebounded last season, scoring 12 goals and assisting on 29. Now, he’s trying to earn a spot for the upcoming season.

“I want to take away as much as I can in this learning experience and get as much feedback as I can,’’ Sheehy said of development camp. “It’s going to help me out as a professional hockey player. Obviously, it’s my goal to play at the next level, and that’s what I’m working for.’’

Sadek, who had four goals and 14 assists for the Gophers this season, realizes how important development camp can be.

“I’m done with college now, so I’ve gotta really to impress the guys,’’ he said.

When development camp opened Tuesday, a primary focus was offensive drills, and that meant Robson and the four other goalies had a heavy workload. “We had to bear the brunt of it,’’ he said. “It was a good start, getting the fitness testing out of the way and getting a good, tough skate out of the way.

“Guys are coming out trying to make a statement,’’ Robson added, “and I’d expect nothing less.’’

A glance at the organization’s depth chart would have Robson penciled in at Iowa with Kaapo Kahkonen, a 2014 fourth-round draft pick. Iowa’s starter for the playoffs, Andrew Hammond, is a 31-year-old unrestricted free agent. The fact that the Wild selected two goalies – Hunter Jones of Peterborough of the OHL and Filip Lindberg of NCAA runner-up Massachusetts -- in last weekend’s draft didn’t faze Robson.

“It doesn’t really concern me. I know where I stand,’’ Robson said. “The thing I like about this position is it’s really all on you.’’

It’s his job, Robson said, to turn heads in camp.

“I want people to leave the ice thinking, ‘Wow, this kid can play,’ ’’ he said. “Simple as that.’’

Hockey Day Minnesota coming to Minneapolis on Jan. 18

 

 

Fox Sports North, in conjunction with the Wild, Minnesota Hockey and the Minneapolis Organizing Committee, announced the details of 14th annual Hockey Day Minnesota in 2020, which will be at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis.

The event will run Thursday, Jan. 16 through Saturday, Jan. 18, on an outdoor rink. FSN will televise four games live on Jan. 18. This year’s edition features the addition of an NHL alumni game, which will be played Jan. 17, and the Gophers women’s hockey team playing Ohio State outdoors on Jan. 18. The Gophers men’s team does not play Jan. 18 but has an exhibition against the U.S. under-18 team the night before.

The schedule of events (at Parade Stadium unless noted):

Jan. 16

* Girls: Holy Angels vs. Minneapolis, 6 p.m.

* Girls: Grand Rapids-Greenway vs. Blake, 8 p.m.

Jan. 17

* NHL alumni game, 7 p.m.

Jan. 18 (all live on FSN)

* Boys: Warroad vs. Minneapolis, 9:30 a.m.

* Boys: Blaine vs. Blake, 1 p.m.

* College women: Gophers vs. Ohio State, 4:30 p.m.

* NHL: Dallas at Wild, 8 p.m., Xcel Energy Center

Ticket information and additional programming details will be announced later.

This will be the first time Minneapolis has been host to Hockey Day Minnesota. Other locations have been: Baudette Bay (2007, ’08), Phalen Park (2009), Hermantown (2010), Moorhead (2011), Minnetonka (2012), Grand Rapids (2013), Elk River (2014), St. Paul (2015), Duluth (2016), Stillwater (2017), St. Cloud (2018) and Bemidji (2019).

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