Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that we selected six players in yesterday’s 2020 NAHL Entry Draft.
We opened up the 2020 Entry Draft by selecting forward Bradley Marek with the #5 overall pick. Marek, a native of Big Rapids, MI, is no stranger to The Nelson Center as he appeared in 31 games for the Jr. Blues during the 2017-18 season, scoring 8 goals and adding 9 assists. After Springfield, the Michigan State commit played parts of two seasons with the Central Illinois Flying Aces before playing this past year with the Youngstown Phantoms. In 143 USHL games Marek has recorded 22 goals and 16 assists, while overall in his junior career he has registered 30 goals and 25 assists.
Our second selection in the draft and the #42 overall pick was used on defenseman Christian “C.J.” Zins. The Princeton, MN native is coming off a strong season for St. Cloud Cathedral where he notched 8 goals and 10 assists in 24 regular season games, adding 5 assists in 6 playoff appearances. In three seasons with St. Cloud, Zins put up 21 goals and 41 assists in 73 games. Zins played his youth hockey for the Minnesota Blizzard and additionally signed a tender with the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL earlier this year.
With our third selection and #59 overall pick, we drafted forward Ethan Wolthers. The native of Valencia, CA played this past season in the BCHL for the Wenatchee Wild, scoring 7 goals and 8 assists in 47 games. The UMass-Amherst commit appeared in 56 games for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders during the 2018-19 season, registering 7 goals and 7 assists. Wolthers played his youth hockey for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks Tier-1 program alongside current Jr. Blues forward and fellow UMass-Amherst commit Jonathan Panisa.
The third round of the 2020 NAHL Entry Draft gave us two picks and with the #72 overall pick we selected forward Zac Sirota. Sirota, a native of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, played for the Markham Royals in the OJHL last season, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists in 47 games. Sirota has played parts of four seasons in the OJHL, two with Markham and just over one season with the Milton IceHawks. Sirota has appeared in 163 games in the OJHL with 46 goals and 59 assists on his resume.
After our selection of Sirota late in the third round, we had to wait until the sixth round for our next pick. With our fifth pick of the day and the #140 overall pick, we selected forward Grady Friedman. The native of Portland, ME appeared in 21 games for Northfield Mount Hermon School (NHMS) this past season, scoring 9 goals and 9 assists. Friedman played for Kent School prior to NHMS while also competing for the Maine Moose youth program. In 107 career USHS-Prep games, Friedman tallied 24 goals and 39 assists.
Our final pick of the day came in the seventh round as we selected forward Connor Bennett with the #167 overall pick in the draft. Bennett, a local product from Rochester, began his junior career with the Peoria Mustangs in 2018-19. Last season Bennett played in 47 games for the Mustangs and scored 16 goals with 24 assists, increasing his junior career totals to 27 goals and 45 assists in 94 games, all in the NA3HL.
Marek, Zins, Wolthers, Sirota, Friedman, and Bennett join Liam Svensson, Grayson Valente, and Austin Spiridakis, who were drafted in May in the Supplemental Draft, to wrap up our 2020 Draft Class. In addition to the nine players selected between the two draft phases, we also tendered eight players this year: Daniel Rozsival, Brian Craven, Jacob Zwirecki, Riley McAlese, Zachary Simon, Dylan Roebuck, Max Ruoho, and Cameron Bauer.
Congratulations to our 2020 Draft Class and our 2020 Tenders, we look forward to seeing all of you at Main Camp in August!