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FORMER FORCE PLAYERS MAKE NHL OPENING NIGHT ROSTERS

By Force Staff, 10/02/19, 2:10PM CDT

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At least six former Fargo Force players have made NHL opening night rosters across five different organizations.

The Los Angeles Kings announced that forwards Alex Iafallo and Blake Lizotte are inked on the Kings’ opening night roster.

Iafallo, an Eden, NY native, skated in every match (82 games overall) for the Kings in the 2018-19 season. With that, he totaled 33 points (15g, 18a) and 22 penalty minutes. In his first season with LA (2017-18), he saw action in 75 games, totaling 25 pts (9g, 16a). He first signed with the Kings in 2017 as an unrestricted free agent.

Iafallo’s junior career brought him to Fargo, where he appeared in 108 games for the Force over the course of two seasons (2011-12, 2012-13). His collegiate hockey tour was spent at the University of Minnesota – Duluth.

Lizotte suited up for the Force from 2016-2018. In his two USHL seasons, he skated in 110 Force games and tallied 111 overall points (31g, 80a). In 2016-17, he was named Force team captain. Lizotte skated in one game with the Kings last season. He signed with LA while at St. Cloud State in 2019.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights announced that Nate Schmidt would be a member of their opening night roster. Schmidt played for the Force in the 2009-10 season, where the defenseman skated in 57 games posting 14 goals and 23 assists. The St. Cloud, MN native would go on to play collegiately at the University of Minnesota before progressing to the American Hockey League (AHL) and then to the NHL. 

Swedish defenseman, Christian Folin, played 12 games for the Force in the 2010-11 season. After playing two seasons collegiately at University of Massachusetts Lowell, he advanced to the National Hockey League. Last season he was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to Montreal, where he was announced to the Canadiens’ opening night roster this season.

The Sharks locked in Johnny Brodzinski on San Jose’s opening roster. The Blaine, MN forward first skated in Fargo in 2010-11, where he split time between Blaine High (Blaine, MN) and the Force. The following season Brodzinski skated in 58 games and tallied 22 points (10g, 12a). He would continue to play collegiately at St. Cloud State. In 2015, he joined the LA Kings organization where he split 4 seasons between the Kings and their AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. He was acquired by the Sharks organization in July of 2019.

Luke Witkowski was announced to the Tampa Bay Lighting’s opening night roster. Witkowski was captain in the Force’s inaugural season (2008-2009), where he skated in 55 games. Collegiately he played four seasons at Western Michigan University where he had stints wearing the “A”, and eventually the “C” as team captain for the Broncos. From their he made his climb from AHL to the National League, splitting time in the Tampa organization between the Lightning and the Syracuse Crunch from 2012-2017. He then spent two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings (2017-19) before returning to Tampa this season.

The 2019-20 NHL regular season begins tonight with four matchups, including the Vegas Golden Nights hosting the San Jose Sharks.