Wyatt Wurst is a returner to the St. Cloud Norsemen this year… sort of. He played for the team last season, but not until his senior year wrapped up for Edina High School where he led the Hornets in points from the blueline with 21 (6-15-21 in 28 GP). Edina went 22-9-0 on the year and made it to the Xcel Energy Center for the State Tournament where they fell to Maple Grove in the Quarterfinals but they defeated Cretin-Derham Hall in the Consolation Semifinal and won the Consolation Final 3-2 in overtime over Moorhead.
When Edina’s season came to a conclusion in March Wurst headed north to St. Cloud and he couldn’t have been more thrilled at the chance. “I was very humbled that I got the opportunity to play with the Norsemen, it really is a great league, it was a way different pace than high school was,” admits Wurst. “I thought it was a really good thing to get a good amount of games under my belt before my first full year in the NAHL.”
Wurst was able to play most of the remaining Norsemen games once the Hornets’ season came to an end, playing in ten of the remaining twelve regular season contests and then when the postseason started up Wyatt dressed in eight of the eleven postseason games. St. Cloud Norsemen Head Coach Corey Millen feels that the experience Wurst gained at the end of last season was invaluable. “Him coming at the end of last year and getting some games has helped him get a better understanding of what the game’s about and what the expectations are for sure,” Millen points out.
Wyatt will be the first to agree with Coach Millen on the value of those games played and notes that it’s been more manageable to play in the NAHL this time around because of his experience last season. “It was a lot easier; playing those games you kind of get the feel for the speed and the thinking of the overall game,” Wurst confides. “Being able to play with a lot of the older guys that I could learn from, like Nick Young (Norsemen captain last year and current freshman defensemen at Union College) for example, he was a great leader and a great role model and I strive to be that this year.”
Wurst checks in at 6’3”, 218 pounds and his size is noticeable by coaches and scouts alike. “He’s a big kid, he’s strong, plays hard. He’s got to continue to grow that part of his game, continue to embrace that,” explains Millen. “Continue to become a really good shutdown defender, that’s something that every team wants and needs.”
Since becoming a Norseman, Wurst can attest that his game has gotten noticeably better and he’s become more of a complete player. “I think I’ve become even more physical than I was and my passing has improved,” notes Wurst. “I’ve learned a lot from Coach Millen and the assistant coaches. Passing, shooting, how you position yourself on the ice. I’m thinking the game better than I was before.”
Wurst and the Norsemen have home games this weekend against the Bismarck Bobcats. In honor of hunting season the Norsemen are going Bobcat Hunting! If you wear hunting clothing (no firearms allowed at the MAC or on its grounds) to either game Friday or Saturday, you’ll receive a complimentary beer. For tickets go to tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.