The North American Hockey League (NAHL) hosted its annual draft on Tuesday, with five Michigan High School alumni selected during the 26-team, 16-round event. Coupled with eight more players who have signed tender agreements, the NAHL continues to be a prominent avenue of player advancement for MI-HS players.
The first alum to be selected 41st overall in the second round, Adam Conquest (Brighton, 2018) is one year removed from his senior season. The 6-foot forward spent the ‘18-19 season in the BCHL, where he scored six goals and 26 points in 46 games as a rookie for the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Austin Adamic (Livonia Stevenson, 2019) was the first senior off the board when Kenai River took him in the fifth round. The ‘00-birth year played three seasons for the Spartans as well as consecutive Fall seasons in the MDHL in addition to representing Team Michigan as a junior and a senior.
Defenseman Joe Borthwick (Detroit Catholic Central, 2019) scored 58 points in two seasons with the Shamrocks, drawing the attention of Minot with the 143rd overall pick in the sixth round. He was the second and final senior to be selected on Tuesday.
He played 48 games for the Redmen between his freshman and sophomores seasons, but Luke Beerman (Marquette, 2019) spent his two most recent seasons with Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota. The former MI-HS player was chosen in the ninth round by expansion team New Mexico.
Sean Detloff (University Liggett, 2018) spent all four seasons with the Knights before playing the ‘18-19 season in the QJAAAHL. Not the most popular route for MI-HS players, but it helped get him chosen in the 12th round by Johnstown. The 6-foot-2 defenseman has some experience in the NAHL already, having played in two regular-season games already.
The five draftees coupled with eight NAHL tenders puts 13 MI-HS new alumni onto teams’ 30-man protected lists heading into the summer.
It was a strong year for MI-HS defensemen as a third senior, Cam Blanton (Trenton, 2019), signed with the 2019 Robertson Cup champions Aberdeen earlier in the year along with a fourth in Anthony Mollica (Jenison, 2019) to Maryland. Forward Bryce Kallen (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 2019) also signed with Aberdeen.
Junior John Druskinis (Hartland, 2020) is getting a jumpstart on the process, as he’s the lone underclassman to earn a tender. He could follow in the footsteps of Gabe Potyk (Lake Orion, 2019) last season and Griffen Sanom (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 2018) the year before that, as recent underclassmen to leave early and play in the NAHL.
There are lots of avenues available to MI-HS players post-graduation and the North American League seems to be the most fruitful option out there for them at this time. Obviously, there are other routes worth exploring, as we’ve mentioned the select few who compete in the USHL but also other Canadian junior options that are growing in popularity and success rates. We’ll continue to dive deeper into those opportunities as the summer carries on.