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Ryan S. Clark, Published August 25 2010

Fargo’s Irmen is back home hoping for NHL contract

Watching a group of 10-year-olds skate reminds Danny Irmen there’s quite a bit of fun that comes with hockey.

That’s been good for Irmen this summer. After all, this is the first summer where he’s been a free agent.

“This is my first time as a free agent and it has been tough,” the 25-year-old Fargo native said. “I have an agent and he’s worrying about this for me.”

Irmen has found ways to not think about his NHL future.

Hosting his first camp has helped. Tuesday was the second day of the four-day camp in Moorhead, which ends Thursday.

Irmen has attended and helped out in many camps. That helped him get a feel for what he wanted to do.

“I’ve been to camps where people do different things,” he said. “There have been some I’ve been to where they work with the puck a lot and some where they don’t work with it at all.”

The camp is a 10-hour commitment. Five hours are dedicated to ways youth can stay in shape when they are not on the ice. The remaining five hours are spent with Irmen sharpening their skills.

Colton Steiner, an 11-year-old who plays center like Irmen, said the camp has been helpful.

“He’s told us a lot of good things,” Steiner said.

Steiner said his goal is to play in the NHL someday. That’s why he paid attention to what Irmen has taught him.

He’s even paid attention to what’s going on with Irmen off the ice.

“I hope he gets another contract so he can continue to play in the NHL,” Steiner said. “I want to play in the NHL so I try to pay attention.”

Fair enough.

Irmen had been in the Minnesota Wild’s organization since they selected him with the 78th pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He played high school hockey at Fargo North and Grand Forks Red River.

Following his junior year at the University of Minnesota in 2006, he played four games with the Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros.

He then spent three seasons with the Aeros. Irmen was called up to the Wild last season where he played two games.

Before his time at Minnesota, Irmen played in the USHL for the Lincoln Stars. He was coached by Fargo Force coach Steve Johnson, who spent 11 seasons in Lincoln.

On Friday, Irmen will return to Minneapolis to resume training. He’s been working with 20 Golden Gophers alumni that are playing in the NHL.

The plan is to sign with a team when training camp starts Sept. 17. If he doesn’t, he hopes to catch on with a team willing to give him a chance.

“Right now we’re trying to look for the right situation,” Irmen said. “The right situation is playing for a franchise that wants me.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.