In Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft held yesterday, the Fargo Force selected 19 players, which included 10 forwards, 8 defensemen and 1 goalie. Players birth years ranged from 2001-2005. Phase II is commonly referred to as the “Entry Draft”, as most players taken during this phase are looking to compete for spots on the 21-22 Force roster and enter the USHL next season.
“We had a very successful Entry draft”, commented Force General Manager Cary Eades. "We had an older, veteran team last season, and with most of those players moving on to college, we needed to restock the cupboards at all 3 positions. We feel we have a nice mix of speed, skill, size, junior experience, and youthfulness amongst the 2021 draft class. We can’t wait to get everyone on the ice together at our Main Tryout Camp, which will be held in Fargo from July 18-21.”
Round 1 | Pick 7 | Hugo Haas
With their first pick in Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft the force selected Hugo Haas, a 5’11 left-handed goaltender from Opava, Czech Republic. In his 2020-21 seaon with the Northeast Generals of the NAHL, Hass recorded a .919 save percentage and 3.12 GAA in 42 games. The 2001 born goalie is committed to play D1 college hockey at American International College. He’ll potentially rejoin Force affiliate Anton Castro as a goaltending tandem for Fargo next season, as both were teammates for the NE Generals in 20-21.
Round 2 | Pick 22 | Luke Gramer
Next up the Force selected Moorhead, MN native Luke Gramer. The local product posted 7 goals and 24 assists in 41 games with the Bismarck Bobcats this season. The 5’10, 180lb homegrown defenseman joins the ranks of Moorhead alumni on recent Forceteams with players such as Ethan Frisch and Carter Randklev. Luke is committed to play DI college hockey at Northern Michigan University.
Round 2 | Pick 28 | Thomas Weis
With the 28th overall pick of the draft, the Force selected right-handed forward Thomas Weis. Wies put up big numbers for the Wichita Falls Warriors where he wore the “A” for his team this season. The 5’7, 153 lb. forward tallied 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 total points in just 50 games. He tacked on another 3 points in two playoff games as well as an assist in his 2-game stint with the U.S. National 18U Team.
Round 3 | Pick 37 | Gustav Portillo
With the 37th pick the Force added 6’3, 213 lb. forward from Goteborg, Sweden, Gustav Portillo. In 19 games with the Frolunda HC Jr. team the swift skating forward tallied five goals and four assists for nine total points. The 18-year old’s long reach and high-quality passes are big assets for Portillo and his team on the tice.
Round 4 | Pick 52 | Braden Panzer
The Force continued to stock up their offense with left-handed forward Braden Panzer. Braden had a big senior season with the Grand Forks Central High Knights in captaining them to a ND State Championship. He racked up 27 goals and 39 assists for 66 total points in just 25 games (for those doing the math that’s a 2.64 PPG average). Two top players on the Force’s 2020-21 Western Conference Championship team also hail from Grand Forks, Mason Salquist and Tucker Hodgson.
Round 4 | Pick 55 | German Yavash
3 picks later thanks to a prior trade with Tri-City the Force selected left-handed forward of Minsk, Belarus, German Yavash. With Minskie Zubry this past season Yavash tallied 8 goals and 10 assists in 23 regular season games, plus another two goals and three assists in the playoffs. The 6’2, 187 lb. forward also played for the Belarus U18 National team that recently competed in the World U18 Championships held in Dallas, TX.
Round 5 | Pick 67 | Bret Link
The Force kicked off round five with their 5th forward of the draft, Bret Link. The Anchorage, AK native put up big numbers for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs during this past season. Tallying 22 goals (including 3 off the PP and 3 SHG), as well as 18 assists for 40 points in 47 games. The 6’2, 185lb forward is committed to play D1 college hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
Round 5 | Pick 71 | Felikss Egils Gavars
With a second round 5 pick courtesy of Green Bay, the Force selected Felikss Egils Gavars of Riga, Latvia. The 2002 born left-handed forward played for the Selects Academy 18U AAA team as Captain, during the 2020-21 season, where scored 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points in just 26 games.
Round 6 | Pick 83 | Garrett Steele
With their round 6 pick, Fargo added right-handed forward Garrett Steele. Steele racked up 12 goals and 18 assists for the Shreveport Mudbugs of the NAHL this season and comes to the Force with some USHL experience having played with the Youngstown Phantoms in 2018-19.
Round 7 | Pick 99 | Bryan Huggins
The Force added 5’11 defenseman Bryan Huggins in the 7th round. The Grand Rapids, MI native is committed to play D1 college hockey at Lake Superior State University, and similar to Fargo’s previous pick has had some USHL experience, having played with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in 2019-20.
Round 8 | Pick 114 | Hughie Hooker
In the 8th round, the Force added defenseman with the addition of the Winnipeg, MB native, Hughie Hooker. The left shot D-man Hooker scored 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in 6 total games with the Winnipeg Blues this past year in a shortened MJHL season.
Round 8 | Pick 119 | Luke Tchor
With their second round 8 pick (from Muskegon) the Force added another recruit from north of the border. This time it was left-handed forward Luke Tchor of the CCHL Brockville Braves. Tchor, a Toronto, Ontario native is a 5’11, 174 lb. 2002 birth year, that racked up 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 50 games for the Oakville Blades of the GOJHL in the 19-20 season.
Round 9 | Pick 129 | Sam Court
Sam Court, a 17-year-old defenseman from Winnipeg, MB was Fargo’s next selection. Court tallied five assists in seven games for the Steinbach Pistons during the shortened 2020-21 Manitoba Junior League season and he scored 8 goals and 29 assists for 37 points in 38 games during his 2019-20 season with the Winnipeg Wild U18 team.
Round 10 | Pick 144 | Taige Harding
With pick #144, Fargo selected 6’7 defenseman Taige Harding. Harding wore the “A” for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the AJHL during the 2020-21 season where he added 5 goals and 8 assists in 13 games. Harding is committed to play D1 college hockey at Providence College.
Round 10 | Pick 152 | Samuel Duerr
With their second pick of round 10, the Force snagged Samuel Duerr of Burr Ridge, IL. Duerr is a 6’1, 200 lb. D-man who played for the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL last season. He tallied 1 goal and 3 assists in his time with the Vipers and previously played at Shattuck St. Mary’s School. Duerr is committed to play D1 college hockey at the University of Maine.
Round 11 | Pick 159 | McKay Hayes
Next up for Fargo was McKay Hayes from Oakville, ON. Hayes is a 6’2 left-handed forward who spent last Fall at the Force training camp, then played the 2020-21 season with the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL. In his time with the Saints, Hayes put up three goals and two assists for 5 total points in 12 games.
Round 12 | Pick 174 | Antonio Arcaroli
Antonio Arcaroli a 16-year-old from Maywood, NJ was Fargo’s next selection. Arcaroli spent this past season with the National Champion North Jersey Avs 16U team where he recorded 6 goals and 8 assists for 14 points in 12 games. Matt Mania, a defenseman who was recently tendered by the Fargo Force was also a part of that team.
Round 13 | Pick 189 | Alex Bosland
The Force selected another North Jersey Avalanche player in round 13, this time from the 15U team. Alex Bosland is a 6’0, 180lb 2-way defenseman who had 1 goal and 7 assists in 15 games with the Avs during their 2020-21 season.
Round 14 | Pick 204 | Lukas McCloskey
With their final pick in Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft the Force selected 16-year-old Lukas McCloskey. McCloskey is from Newport Beach, CA and spent the 2020-21 season with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 16U AAA team. With the Ducks the 6’2 defenseman added one goal and 11 assists for 12 total points last season.
All of the players selected in the Phase I and Phase II of the draft are expected to attend the Force’s Main Tryout Camp which will be held from July 18-21st at Scheels Arena. The Main Camp will be open for viewing and we encourage fans to come watch the future of the Fargo Force!