Gophers attend Wild development camp

Two current Minnesota players and one alumnus participated in the camp last week.

by Jack White

Though Minnesota doesn’t open its hockey schedule until October, three current and former Gophers players got the chance to play for their other hometown professional team last week. 

Rising senior Justin Kloos, rising sophomore Jack Sadek and alumnus Nick Seeler all attended the Minnesota Wild’s annual development camp at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center last week.

“It was fun,” Kloos said. “Obviously, it was really nice to just drive over from campus and get some good experience at the Wild Camp.”

The camp consisted of two scrimmages and four practices. The two scrimmages featured an overtime period and shootout. Thursday and Sunday’s scrimmages were free and open to the public. 

Kloos was one of 16 invitees that attended the camp. Kloos played alongside Jordan Greenway, Avery Peterson and Minnesota head coach Don Lucia’s son Mario in the overtime period of the two scrimmages. The senior managed to score a goal in the overtime period of the second scrimmage Sunday.

Kloos was invited to the camp as an undrafted player. He made a significant impact with the Gophers last season as the team’s top scorer and was given the John Mariucci Most Valuable Player Award. 

The Wild’s camp was the first professional development camp Kloos attended. He said the experience was beneficial for getting a good start on his hockey career after college.

“[I’m] getting used to the program, I guess,” Kloos said. “To get used to this a little bit — just how these things go and get maybe a little more confidence for the next camp.” 

Seeler is the lone alumnus who attended the event. Seeler was drafted by the Wild in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft. 

Seeler last attended development camp in 2013 but has a bigger presence now. The defenseman played just one season with Minnesota last year due to transfer rules but decided to forgo his senior season of eligibility to sign an entry-level contract with the Wild. 

Now, Seeler is looking to find his place in the system.

“The coaches have been great [and] the players have been great,” Seeler said. “The coaches have been harping on little things — stick position, body position, where you put the puck, and it’s all important. It’s all important at the next level… I was just going to take it all in this week and try to translate that in Traverse City and then mini camp and see what happens.”

Jack Sadek was the true veteran represented at the camp. It was the upcoming sophomore’s second time at the event. He attended last year and was Minnesota’s seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft.

“Last year I didn’t go to much of it because of classes in summer, but this year I went to everything,” Sadek said. “Definitely a good experience for me — learning a lot of stuff, just having a good time.”

The trio now looks to take what they’ve learned from the camp into the season ahead. Kloos will try to excel in his final collegiate season, Sadek will attempt to earn more playing time for the Gophers and Seeler will likely showcase his skills for a Wild minor-league affiliate. 

“It was good,” Sadek said. “Definitely a big showing this year. Definitely always get big showings on those Sundays, the second scrimmages. [The fans] were good to us, so we decided to give them a little show out there.”