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JUNIOR HOCKEY

Junior hockey

Shane Soderwall backstopped the Rochester Grizzlies to the NA3HL national championship game in 2021. He was on the inaugural Anchorage Wolverines team a year ago that advanced to the NAHL national championship game in their first season as a franchise. This season, Soderwall hopes to be the go-to guy in goal for the Wolverines, who have their sights set on a return trip to the title game.
Hastings native Kyle Bauer acclimated quickly to the North American 3 Hockey League last season as a rookie with the Rochester Grizzlies. The reigning NA3HL Rookie of the Year hopes to do the same while taking a step up this season. Bauer is one of close to 80 players in Rochester this weekend at the main tryout camp for the NAHL's Anchorage Wolverines, coached by Rochester native and former Grizzlies assistant Mike Aikens.
Xavier Jean-Louis spent one season with the Austin Bruins, but the Montreal native said it was well worth being 17 hours away from home. Jean-Louis played in all situations for the Bruins. His versatility, size and speed, as well as his leadership on and off the ice, have landed him a roster spot at the Division I University of Alaska, beginning this fall.
Jack Malinski's coaches say his best on-ice trait is his Hockey IQ. The Lakeville South graduate showed that in spades last season for the Austin Bruins. It's part of what made him so well-liked in the locker room, and it's a big reason why -- following the Bruins' main tryout camp this week -- he's been named the Bruins' captain for 2022-23.

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Jens Richards was a standout for two seasons with the Northstar Christian Academy team in Alexandria, then for two seasons with the Austin Bruins. On Friday, he accomplished another goal by committing to play Division I college hockey at the University of Vermont.
Owatonna native and Rochester Grizzlies goalie Zach Wiese committed to play Division I college hockey at the University of Minnesota last week. He's the first Grizzly to play Division I hockey.
Zach Wiese carried on the Rochester Grizzlies' tradition of strong goaltending in the 2021-22 season, leading the franchise to its first-ever Fraser Cup championship, as postseason champions of the North American 3 Hockey League. Now he's made more franchise history, becoming the first Grizzlies player to commit to a Division I college. And it's not just any D1 program. It's the home-state University of Minnesota.
Yotaro Nakadate had 21 points in 37 games for the Rochester Grizzlies in 2020-21, helping them to the NA3HL national championship game.
Rochester native Mike Aikens has guided the Anchorage Wolverines to the North American Hockey League's Robertson Cup, the league's final four tournament, in the franchise's first year of existence. He's done it with some names familiar to southeastern Minnesota hockey fans: Albert Lea's Campbell Cichosz, a Minnesota State commit, and former Rochester Grizzlies Collin Pederson (an Owatonna native) and Shane Soderwall.
Exclusive
The Rochester Grizzlies had their sights set on one goal from the start of the 2021-22 season: Winning the Fraser Cup, the championship of the North American 3 Hockey League. They came together at the perfect time and achieved that dream. Here's how they did it.

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Mike Aikens helped build the Rochester Grizzlies into one of the best franchises in the North American 3 Hockey League as an assistant coach for three seasons. This year, Aikens took over the first-year NAHL team in Anchorage, Alaska, and he has them just three wins away from a spot in the national championship tournament.
The Austin Bruins went 8-3-1 in 12 regular-season games against the Aberdeen Wings. That success mattered little in the playoffs, though, as the Wings swept the Bruins in three games to eliminate them from the NAHL postseason.
The Rochester Grizzlies won the NA3HL national championship this season. On Wednesday, they won a majority of the league's awards, including being named the Organization of the Year for a second consecutive year, having the Coach of the Year for a second consecutive season and the Goalie of the Year for a third consecutive season.

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