The St. Cloud Norsemen made a couple transactions this week to bolster their roster for the 2022-23 season in acquiring defenseman Ryan Thomas and forward Jack Wandmacher.
Thomas is a 2003 birth year and a right-handed shot blueliner who hails from Chicago, IL and played his youth hockey there for the Chicago Jets and Chicago Fury programs. Thomas is defensively responsible with an impressive plus/minus over the years, but he also can chip in offensively, scoring 12-41-53 in 86 games his two seasons of 18U AAA with the Fury.
“I think I’m a pretty offensive defenseman,” says Thomas when asked to describe his style. “I like to join the rush, lead the rush at times and create offense but at the same time I feel like I have a pretty good defensive game and can shut down other team’s top guys.”
St. Cloud Norsemen Head Coach Corey Millen knows Thomas can contribute at both ends but due to injuries this season, wants to make sure Thomas gets off to a good start in St. Cloud, taking care of his own end first. “Ryan skates well, he’s a kid that’s been a little banged up and hasn’t really had a great opportunity to get a lot of momentum in the league so far,” explains Millen. “He’s had success at the previous levels, probably in all areas. Right now the mentality and the message is going to be ‘just start simple, play solid, help keep pucks out of our net and let the game grow from there’.”
Wandmacher is a 2002 born forward who hails from St. Louis Park, MN and played four years of varsity hockey for the St. Louis Park Orioles where he scored 46-67-113 in 85 career regular season games. He’s in his second season in the NAHL and his previous year and a half was spent with the Corpus Christi IceRays. This season he was an alternate captain and put up a stat line of 6-7-13 in 32 GP.
Coach MIllen sees a lot in the NAHL vet, both physically and how he approaches the game. “He wants to be great and wants to get something done as far as college is concerned. I think that’s his goal and hopefully he can bring a little excitement and give us a shot in the arm,” says Millen. “ He’s going to have a great mentality; I think he’s going to bring some work ethic and some jam.”
Excitement is the tone out of both of the newest Norsemen. “I’m definitely pumped to be up here, a team this close to the playoffs, it’s definitely new,” confides Wandmacher. “Especially being close to home, I’ll have my parents here almost every weekend so that’ll be nice.” Wandmacher also mentioned knowing a few guys already in the locker room and admits it’s nice to see them again.
While Thomas isn’t nearly as close to home as Wandmacher, he’s significantly closer than he was in Alaska and appreciates the opportunity in St. Cloud. “I’m really excited to be here, living in Fairbanks was obviously tough being far from home,” admits Thomas. “Obviously getting closer to home is better. I feel like I’m wanted here, which is really nice, and hopefully I can play a pretty big role in getting some wins for this team.”
Thomas was acquired from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for a 2023 Tender and Wandmacher was traded to St. Cloud for forward Dylan Jensen.
The newcomers will put on their Norsemen sweaters for the first time this weekend with Thomas wearing 14 and Wandmacher will be number 12. They’ll get their first game with the team on Friday in Austin at 7:05 and that game can be viewed online at hockeytv.com. The rematch will be Saturday night in St. Cloud at 7:00 and tickets can be purchased online at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.