Tag Archives: where are they now

Active Former Hounds, 2017

9 Sep

As has become an annual tradition, here’s my check-in on the post-high school hockey careers of all active former Greyhounds. The numbers all come from HockeyDB. Asterisks denote players who left East early.

Zack Fitzgerald (’04 D)* There’s no quit for Fitzgerald, who just wrapped up his third season playing in England, the past two coming with the Sheffield Steelers. He continues to pile up respectable point totals, and, after a second consecutive season with 197 of them, has now amassed 3,421 penalty minutes over a 16-year professional career. It’s pretty safe to say that one’s a record for an East alum.

Cade Fairchild (’07 D)* After two years in the Russian KHL, Fairchild took his services to the Swedish Hockey League, where he was the third highest-scoring player on the team as a defenseman—two points ahead of a teammate who is another 1989-born Duluthian, former Hobey Baker winner Jack Connolly. It continues a long career of productive play from the blue line for the former Gopher and momentary NHLer. His Rogle BK team had a rough year, finishing second from the bottom in the Swdish table.

Derek Forbort (’10 D)* After making his NHL debut in 2015-2016, Forbort took a big step forward this past season, as he stuck in the big leagues for a full 82 games. He was third among their defensemen in scoring, and tied for the team lead in penalty minutes and plus-minus. And when that guy you’re tied with in plus-minus is Drew Doughty, that’s a pretty good sign. Forbort has arrived, and doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

Andy Welinski (’11 D)* Welinski had a solid first full year of his pro career, and joins the ranks of productive Greyhound defensemen in that level. He was the second highest-scoring defenseman on the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, and one figures it’s only a matter of time before he gets the call.

Dom Toninato (’12 F) Toninato concluded a strong NCAA career by captaining UMD to a runner-up finish, and was named NCHC Defensive Player of the Year in the process. He was used in a more and more defensive manner as his college career went on, often matched against opponents’ top lines; this depressed his offense somewhat, though he was still one of the more imposing net-front presences in college hockey. He was drafted by the Maple Leafs, whose recent signing spree made spots hard to find. Once he reached free agency, though, the Avalanche snapped him up immediately, and he has himself a two-way contract to begin his professional career. We’ll see if and when he joins the ranks of ex-Hound NHLers.

Jake Randolph (’12 F) An injury slowed Randolph’s junior year at Nebraska-Omaha, but his 23 points were still among the higher totals for Maverick forwards amid a middling season. Next up, he’ll get a chance to wrap up his college career in style.

Trevor Olson (’12 F) Olson stepped into a bigger role as a junior at North Dakota, where his 16 points more than doubled his combined total from the previous two. He should continue to be a regular contributor in the lineup in his final season in Grand Forks, as his team looks to rebound from what was (by their standards) a bit of a down year.

Meirs Moore (’13 D) Moore’s sophomore season at RPI saw him shuffled in and out of the lineup some, as he had just two points after a more productive freshman year. If he can hold up defensively, he’ll stay in the lineup with his offensive skills.

Conner Valesano (’13 F)* Valesano was part of the great Greyhound movement to UW-Stout, where he was one of three freshmen from the Class of 2013 to come in this season. With 13 points and 44 penalty minutes, he had the most eventful year of his three teammates.

Jack Forbort (’13 F) Forbort was the second of the three East grads at Stout, and finished one point behind Valesano for a total of 12.

Alex Toscano (’13 F) Toscano rounds out the Greyhound threesome at Stout, where he had ten points as a freshman.

Hogan Davidson (’13 F) A fourth D-III player from the Class of 2013 took a more adventurous route than his ex-teammates, as he went to Nichols College in southern Massachusetts. (Yeah, I had to look that one up, and it’s pretty rare that I don’t know where a college is.) He appeared to be his usual scrappy self there, with a respectable point total and a pile of penalties to his name.

Phil Beaulieu (’14 D) After a somewhat unusual junior career, Beaulieu’s D-I debut was exactly what anyone who watched him in high school would have expected. He put up 19 points from the blue line for Northern Michigan, and one would expect that total to go up further as he settles in.

Alex Trapp (’14 D) Trapp moved to the college ranks this past season and played for D-III St. Thomas, where he offered his usual reliable services as a freshman.

Nick Altmann (’15 F) For a second straight season, Altmann had a mid-teens point total in the NAHL, was also quite productive in the playoffs, and for a second straight season had a cup of coffee in the USHL. We’ll see how things play out as he moves toward the next stage.

Ash Altmann (’16 F) After a slow start with Bismarck in the NAHL, Ash moved to the Wilderness to join his older brother and a couple of other ex-Hounds, where he was somewhat more productive. There’s still some potential here if things pan out.

Luke Dow (’16 F) As Greyhounds go, the Minnesota Wilderness is to the NAHL as UW-Stout is to D-III. The third of four East grads to play in Cloquet this past season was also the most productive, as Dow put up 32 points, one of the higher totals among the forwards on a strong team. (Probably worth noting: Alex Trapp’s father, Chris, is the owner of the Wilderness franchise.)

Ryan Peterson (’16 F) The last of the four East grads playing for the Wilderness, Peterson put up 14 points in his post-high school debut.

Shay Donovan (’16 D) Donovan landed with the Coulee Chill for his NAHL debut, where he was a productive and steady contributor from the blue line. He’ll be joining the Greyound Wilderness Club this coming fall.

Alex Spencer (’16 D) Spencer joined four fellow members of the Class of 2016 in the NAHL, though he went much further afield, as he wound up in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was his usual self there: big and physical defensively, no shortage of penalties, and the very occasional offensive contribution.


Dropping from the list this past season:


Matt Cooper (’09 G) The Hounds goalie who parlayed an impressive club hockey career into a minor league season in 15-16 has moved on, but it was a pretty impressive run

Hunter Bergerson (’11 D) Completed a steady D-III career with St. Scholastica and now has moved on.

Nate Repensky (’12 D) An injury-riddled career came to an unfortunate end for Repensky, as Yale announced he’d “retired from the sport.” He had a couple of quality seasons in New Haven, living up to his potential when he was on the ice, and his consolation prize is an Ivy League education, so things should work out just fine for the kid.

Andrew Kerr (’13 D) Sometimes hockey takes a back seat to life. Kerr, who was set to join the Greyhound party at Stout, suffered a brutal injury in a freak accident on a water trampoline last summer. His neck was broken, and there was serious question about his ability to lead a normal life. Now, just one year later, he is walking again, and getting to a point where approaches normalcy. In a different world he would’ve joined three of his fellow 2013 classmates at Stout, but instead, he’s starting in at UMD this fall. Whether in Menomonie, Cloquet, or right back in a supportive community on the east side of those Duluth, those ties seem to linger.


Active Former Hounds, 2014

19 Jul

Elite League rosters are out, and summer transfer intrigue and early departure watches are underway…it’s time to start writing about hockey again. I’ll start on a light note by dipping into my Duluth East archives. Here’s a list of every active former Duluth East player that I’m aware of who played at some post-high school level last season. Asterisks denote players who left East early.

Nick Anderson (’97 F) Anderson’s hockey career is a testament to persistence and hard work. He wasn’t a star at East, playing a regular shift only as a senior, and even that was mostly in a supporting role on the ’97 2nd-place team. But he stuck with it through 3 years of juniors, played 5 years at Minnesota-Duluth (there must have been a redshirt in there), and went on to spend time in the ECHL, Germany, Italy, and the UK. He didn’t finish out last season with his British team, so the run may finally be over, but no matter what, it’s been an admirable one.

Nick Angell  (’98 D) Angell, the star defenseman of the ’98 state champ Hounds, played 4 years at Minnesota, winning a national championship as a senior. He went to Europe one year after graduation and has primarily played in Sweden since, though he also had stints in Germany and in the elite Russian KHL. He had a productive season in Sweden’s second-tier league in 13-14.

Zack Fitzgerald (’04 D)* Fitzgerald left East for the WHL after his freshman year (00-01) and played there for 4 years. He got a single-game cameo in the NHL with the Canucks in 07-08, but has spent most of the past nine years as an AHL enforcer, racking up massive penalty minutes and the occasional point in the process. He’s the younger brother of ’91 East alum Rusty Fitzgerald, who played parts of 3 seasons in the NHL.

Cade Fairchild (’07 D)* An offensive defenseman, Fairchild left East after his sophomore year for the National Training and Development Team, and went on to play at Minnesota. Like Fitzgerald he’s had a cup of coffee in the NHL, but has spent most of the past 3 years in the AHL.

Josh ‘Podge’ Turnbull (’07 F)* Turnbull transferred to East from Hayward, Wisconsin as a sophomore and spent two years in red and grey before a year of junior hockey and a 4-year run at Wisconsin. He’s bounced around various minor leagues for the past 3 seasons, most recently landing in with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Keegan Flaherty (’08 F)* The much-hyped Flaherty played 3 years of Hounds hockey but left for juniors after flat-lining some as a junior. In the USHL he reinvented himself as a hard-working depth player and had 4 serviceable years at UMD. He was Turnbull’s teammate in Pensacola last winter.

Max Tardy (’09 F) Tardy just wrapped up his 4 years at UMD, and will be best remembered there for his goal in the 2011 national championship game. His overall UMD career was a mild disappointment as he sometimes struggled to crack the lineup in his upperclassman years, but he played with good energy when he did, and could likely catch on somewhere if he so desires.

Alex McLean (’09 D) McLean, one of the more defensive defensemen on the ’09 squad with 4 D-I D-men, played two years of juniors before catching on at Ohio State, where he’ll be a senior this coming year.

Jake Williams (’09 D) You’ve probably never heard of American International College, but it’s based in Springfield, Massachusetts and is a D-I program in the Atlantic Hockey Association. Williams has been a regular there for the past 3 years and will be a senior this coming year.

Julius Tamasy (’09 F) Tamasy transferred to East as a senior and, after a stint in juniors, went to D-III Nazareth College in New York, and was its 2nd-highest scorer in its inaugural season. He’ll be a junior there this fall.

Derek Forbort (’10 D)*  The most hyped of all the Hounds on this list and the school’s only ever 1st-rounder, Forbort played for the NTDP and spent 3 years at North Dakota before making the jump to the AHL this past season. There have been occasional questions along the way, and his NHL debut has probably been delayed somewhat by being stuck in the Kings’ organization, but it should come in due course.

Andy Welinski (’11 D)* Welinski, another highly touted defenseman and a 3rd-rounder, played 2 years in the USHL and will be a junior at UMD this coming fall. His development has been fairly steady.

Phil Johnson (’11 F) Johnson, a stalwart on the 2011 runners-up, has had 3 productive seasons a D-III St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Hunter Bergerson (’11 D) Bergerson played one year in the NAHL and has spent the past two seasons playing some for D-III St. Scholastica in Duluth.

Nolan Meyer (’11 F)* Meyer transferred to Cloquet for his senior year, but had two seasons of modest production as a Hound. He is now at D-III Augsburg, where he has played sporadically over the past two seasons.

Dom Toninato (’12 F) A Maple Leafs draft pick, Toninato had a very strong year in the USHL before coming to UMD. He didn’t have huge points in his freshman year, but was often matched against others’ best lines and more than held his own.

Jake Randolph (’12 F) Mike Randolph’s son followed up a quality first year in the USHL with a monster one, breaking the league’s assist record and being named forward of the year. He’ll make his debut at Nebraska-Omaha this winter.

Trevor Olson (’12 F) The third member of the phenomenal Class of 2012 top line, Olson’s progress has been slowed somewhat by injuries, but he looked sharp when healthy at the end of the past USHL season and will start at North Dakota this fall, a school that should fit his edgy style well.

Nate Repensky (’12 D) Like Olson, Repensky’s had his injuries, but was very productive in the NAHL, and was named its defenseman of the year. He’s headed to Yale this coming school year.

Paige Skoog (’12 G) The first goalie on this list, the Forest Lake transfer was primarily a backup in his season in red and grey, but has had two reasonably good seasons in the NAHL.

Conner Valesano (’13 F)* Valesano has had two reasonably productive USHL seasons, but has yet to grab a D-I offer, meaning he’ll likely be back in the USHL this coming year.

Meirs Moore (’13 D) The shifty defenseman had a slow start to his USHL career, but came on toward the end of the season. He’ll spend a second season there before heading to D-I Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Alex Toscano (’13 F) Toscano spent his first year of junior hockey shuttling between the USHL and NAHL.

Jack Forbort (’13 F) Derek Forbort’s younger brother put up decent numbers in the NAHL this past year.

Andrew Kerr (’13 D) Kerr had a strong NAHL rookie season, scoring more than he did in high school, mixing things up, and was picked in this spring’s USHL draft.

Hogan Davidson (’13 F) Like Kerr, Davidson picked up his share of penalty minutes as he bounced between a couple of NAHL teams.

Ryan Lundgren (’13 F) Lundgren had been set to play in the NAHL before suffering a season-ending injury. Depending on his recovery, he has some shot at playing at a higher level.

Dylan Parker (’13 G) Parker spent most of the past season in the NA3HL and was briefly rostered in the NAHL, but did not play.