CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI – The picks are in and it’s time to welcome the Chippewa Steel’s 2022 NAHL Draft class!
This year, the Steel made six selections headlined by Slovakian goaltender Adam Gajan in the first round at No. 29 overall.
Gajan has potential to be a massive piece for the Steel this upcoming season. Since 2020, he has played with HK Skalica for both the U18 and U20 teams. In 11 games with the U18 squad, he posted an impressive .947 SV% and a 1.81 GAA. He quickly moved up to face opponents a year or two older in the U20 division. He played 38 games with a .909 SV% and 3.60 GAA, including five playoff games with a .937 SV%. The Steel are excited to bring him to Chippewa Valley.
Like most players drafted, their primary goal is to play Tier 1 hockey in the USHL. Many kids already have their rights belonging to a USHL team. The NAHL Draft ensures that if they don’t make their USHL team out of camp, they have a fall back in the NAHL. Still, they must show up to main camp ready to work, because it is no guarantee they make the Steel either.
One example is second round pick and defenseman Easton Zueger. He played 50 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL this past season. If he doesn’t make the team again, he can become an everyday defensive-defenseman for the Chippewa Steel.
Just days after the Steel tendered Zach Sondreal, they drafted his brother Jake in round three. Both brothers now have their rights belonging to the Steel. If they don’t make their USHL teams, they will compete hard for a spot on Chippewa’s roster. Both Jake and Zach served as team captains for their high school team Cretin-Derham Hall. Jake finished with 25 points in 19 games while brother Zach tallied 26 points in 29 games.
In round four the Steel selected Joey Arnold No. 92 overall. Arnold was born and raised in New Jersey and most recently played forward for the Jersey Hitmen 18U AAA.
In round five, the Steel selected defenseman Luke Margenau from Maple Grove High. Margenau (17) plays aggressive from the back end and finished the year with 29 points in 31 games. He is a shifty and creative defender that could make the Steel this upcoming season.
The Steel concluded the draft class by selecting forward Nik Howell at No. 151 overall.
The Chippewa Steel’s main camp is scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 1. It’s a reminder that just because a player was tendered or drafted, doesn’t mean they will play for the Steel. That depends on if they make their USHL squad and how they preform at the main camp.
Regardless, the Steel are proud of their selections and tenders, and are looking forward to seeing how it unfolds as the season approaches.
Stay connected during the season by following the Steel @chippewasteel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online at chippewasteelhockey.com.
The Chippewa Steel are members of the NAHL which is the oldest and largest junior hockey league of its kind in the United States and one of only two USA Hockey-certified leagues that operate under the non pay-to-play model. The NAHL is also one of the best at advancing players to NCAA and professional hockey. All league games are viewable via HockeyTV. For more information, visit chippewasteelhockey.com.