Center Gavin Gunderson has signed a tender with the St. Cloud Norsemen and will be an experienced junior hockey player from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League that the organization looks to build around.
Gunderson put up 14-19-33 in 44 regular season games and 3-3-6 in 5 playoff games for the Niverville Nighthawks of the MJHL, where Norsemen defenseman Owen Hendrikson played five games this season. Gunderson hails from Roseau, MN and in his four-year varsity career for the Rams scored 62-72-134 in 95 regular season games.
Gunderson admits that geography did play a part in his decision to tender with the Norsemen. “I have always liked the St. Cloud area and it’s not too far from home, about five hours,” explains Gunderson. “A couple of my buddies have played there and they both had great experiences. It seems like there is a winning culture there, especially last year and this year with the team making deep playoff runs.”
Every NAHL team can tender up to 10 players each season and unlike a draft pick, where they select a player’s NAHL rights but the player has little input or say in where they’re drafted, the tendered player has to agree to the partnership as well. In addition to geography and liking the program, Gunderson feels the coaching staff is one he can grow and blossom under. “They all seem very welcoming and excited for the upcoming season, even in the heart of playoffs,” Gunderson points out.
St. Cloud Norsemen Student Assistant Coach Michael Holenko has done a fair amount of scouting of Gunderson and talks about what he likes about the forward. “Obviously we like Gavin; he’s got some experience now in the MJ and I think that’s always good,” acknowledges Holenko. “We like his speed, we like his competitiveness, and it seems like he’s got a knack for scoring. We definitely like those attributes and I think he’ll be a good asset for us moving forward into next season.”
Gunderson is listed on the Niverville Nighthawks’ website and eliteprospects.com as 6’1, 190 pounds, and he’s well aware of those attributes and how to build his game around his frame. “I like to use my size and speed to my advantage,” Gunderson admits. “A pro player I like to compare myself to is Ryan Hartman.”
Gunderson joins fellow forwards Wes Berg, Andrew Cumming, Nicholas Noble, and Trey Wandall as well as defenseman Tyler Geyer as the St. Cloud Norsemen tenders this season.