The Saint Cloud Norsemen will open the 2023 campaign against the Shreveport Mudbugs on September 13 at the Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. The Norsemen will look to lean on the veteran presence of Edina native Wyatt Wurst who will begin his third season in the NAHL, after combining for seven points in 56 games. Wurst is a stay at home defenseman who prides his game on size and physicality.
“I am a stay-at-home defenseman, I try to play my role to be physical and bring an enforcer role myself and do the little things right” said Wurst describing his style of play.
Before his time in central Minnesota, Wurst was a senior captain for the Edina Hornets and led his team to an appearance in the 2019 class AA semifinals as a sophomore. Wurst posted 30 total points in a three year career at Edina High School.
Wurst described his current team as being young with plenty of potential.
“We are a younger team that brings a lot of skill. The NAHL is a different game compared to high school or AAA. Therefore, we look to a couple of the younger guys who are very skilled as they have seen that the pace is a lot faster in the NAHL, and have adapted accordingly” he said of the Norsemen rookies.
When Wurst was welcomed to Saint Cloud he played alongside fellow Hornet teammate Gunnar Johnson.
“It was really funny having him in Saint Cloud because he is a few years older, I am really good friends with his younger brother, it was good to have a familiar face around throughout my first year of juniors,” said Wurst about his high school teammate.
As one of six players returning to the Norseman’s 2023 “D” core, Wurst will turn his focus to the upcoming NAHL top prospects showcase and the regular season. He is very familiar with the defenseman that will be in the lineup.
“The chemistry is pretty good as we have played a couple preseason scrimmages before the regular season. We have really gelled and are focused on winning, and not focused on ourselves – it is something special,” said Wurst
This season, former Wisconsin Badgers standout John Mitchell will join the Saint Cloud coaching staff alongside Corey Millen.
“He is a really great guy and very knowledgeable with having played at a high level as Mitchell, who captained the Wisconsin Badgers. He and Corey really gel nicely and I think this adds another aspect to the forward core and this year’s team as a whole,” said Wurst about his new assistant coach.
Wurst and St Cloud will play a very physical Shreveport Mudbugs team to open up the North American Hockey League season. He described Shreveport as a team that is not afraid to throw the body around.
“ I am looking forward to the opener. The south plays very gritty hockey, I believe my game will be shown against this type of team you get the puck and the defenseman give you no time,” he said in advance of the opener set for later this month on September 13.
With a lot of promise when looking at this year’s roster, Wurst was optimistic about the team and about the upcoming league showcase.
“I am excited for the showcase,” said Wurst. “As a team we have been working hard; everyone is heading to the gym and adapting to the fast pace. We will look to make a run for the Robertson Cup.”
Dain Solberg, Freelance Writer