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Brad E. Schlossman / Grand Forks Herald, Published June 27 2010

Five more UND recruits drafted

GRAND FORKS – NHL teams think that the school that produced a Stanley Cup captain, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a Jack Adams Award winner earlier this month isn’t done supplying the big league.

Seven University of North Dakota-bound players were selected during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft this weekend – more than any other college program in the country.

It all started Friday night with defenseman Derek Forbort and forward Brock Nelson going in the first round. It ended Saturday with five more players getting their names called in Los Angeles.

Forward Mark MacMillan went in the fourth round to Montreal; forward Mike Parks went in the fifth to Philadelphia; forward Brendan O’Donnell went in the sixth to Tampa Bay; Thief River Falls goalie Zane Gothberg went in the sixth to Boston; and defenseman Nick Mattson was picked in the sixth by Stanley Cup champion Chicago.

All five players selected Saturday will join the Sioux in 2011 or 2012.

“It’s awesome,” said Gothberg, who was named Minnesota’s top senior goaltender last season. “It goes to show you that the University of North Dakota is on the map and a lot of people take notice.”

Gothberg said he was eating brunch when he got a call from his family adviser telling him that he had been selected No. 165 overall.

“I had been told that I could go anywhere from the second round to not being drafted at all,” Gothberg said. “It was really up in the air. I’m pretty fortunate to get drafted. It’s something special. Boston is an Original Six team with a great history. It will be a great opportunity.”

MacMillan, who plays in the British Columbia Hockey League, also was excited to be picked by an Original Six team.

“Lots of excitement,” MacMillan said. “The whole house is very excited. It’s a big thing and it’s a big honor. It’s pretty cool to get drafted by the most historic team in the NHL.”

O’Donnell was picked up by the Lightning, a team with four former Sioux in its clubhouse last season (forward Brandon Bochenski, defenseman Matt Smaby, defenseman David Hale and assistant coach Rick Wilson).

Parks was picked up by the Flyers, whose only contact with the O’Fallon, Mo., product was a brief conversation after a USHL game this winter.

“I’m really excited, I’m thrilled,” Parks said. “I really had no idea what to expect. You can look at the rankings all over the Internet, but I’m just happy to get picked.”

Mattson, a puck-moving defenseman who will play in the USHL this season, was watching the U.S. play in a World Cup soccer game with friends when he received a call.

“I would have been a little too nervous to watch the draft, so I went out to lunch with some friends,” Mattson said. “I’m not going to be picky about anyone drafting me, but if I had my choice, the Blackhawks would have been it. I love watching them play. Duncan Keith is my favorite player.”


Brad Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.