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Co-hosted by Wild, All-Star Prospects Game will showcase state's best

Forty of Minnesota's top high school players set for exhibition tilt Saturday at TRIA Rink

by Phil Ervin / Wild.com

ST. PAUL -- Jonny was a Mr. Hockey Finalist. He, Michael and Easton went to state.

But none of them experienced something like this.

So far, Bryce Brodzinski is the only one of his brothers -- two of whom now play in NHL systems -- who has yet to take part in the Minnesota State High School League's crowning tournament, a fact his three older siblings don't let the Blaine High School senior forget. Bryce, though, will participate Saturday in the inaugural Minnesota High School All-Star Prospects Game, which pits the state's top prep players in an NHL Central Scouting-sanctioned exhibition ahead of the local high school season.

"I think this is the first time I can say I did something that they didn't," Bryce Brodzinski, who's committed to the University of Minnesota next season, told Wild.com with a laugh. Jonny Brodzinski is a Los Angeles King, Michael is a member of the San Jose Sharks organization, and Easton currently plays for St. Cloud State.

And while chasing Minnesota high school hockey's greatest prize in March remains the penultimate objective, the youngest Brodzinski called this start to that journey "an honor."


Minnesota High School All-Star Prospects Game
2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center
Live stream on stateofhockey.com and hockeytv.com


"It's pretty awesome," said Bryce Brodzinski, who will wrap up his early-season stint with the United States Hockey League's Omaha Lancers before returning to Blaine for his senior season. "It's really cool, because you can see what guys are going to be playing big roles on their teams and ask them how good their team is going to be, what they think their season is gonna go like. It'll be really cool to get to know new people on new teams who you've never been able to talk to before."

Forty players are slated to play in the All-Star Prospects Game, created via a partnership between the Minnesota Wild, State of Hockey, Minnesota Hockey, the Minnesota High School Coaches Association and College Hockey, Inc. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center, and the contest will be live streamed on stateofhockey.com and hockeytv.com.

Tickets are $10 for adults, and children ages 18 and younger will be admitted free of charge.

"I think it's a unique event, and we try to -- any time we can -- lift up athletes in the state," said Mike McMillan, the MHCA's executive director. "Any time we can showcase their talent and get them exposure by putting them with better players, that's what it's all about."

Every NHL, college and junior hockey scout has been invited to the game. Inside the Wild's practice facility, they'll have the opportunity to evaluate the likes of Brodzinski, Chaska defenseman Mike Koster and forward Rhett Pitlick, St. Thomas Academy forward Rob Christy and Holy Family Catholic forward Garrett Pinoniemi. The rosters include a total of 29 NCAA Division I commits.

Players were selected by an undisclosed panel comprised of NHL scouts, collegiate coaches and other local hockey leaders.

But this is about more than just displaying and assessing skills, McMillan said. It's an energizing commemoration that high school hockey is back.

"That's the part that gets missed," said McMillan, whose many hockey-related duties include serving as USA Hockey's national coach-in-chief and coaching goalies and defenseman at Hamline University. "It's fun. Clearly, some of the best talent in the state gets exposed, but more importantly, this is meant to be a big part of the celebration of the kickoff of the high school hockey season."

Former Wild forward Mark Parrish, former NHLer Derek Plante and former Minnesota high school coaches Keith Hendrickson and Mark DeCenzo will serve as coaches. The winning team will receive the newly-minted State of Hockey Cup, which will be displayed along with a photo of the winners inside TRIA Rink.

Tweet from @mystateofhockey: The official unveiling of the 2018 High School All-Star Prospects Game jerseys 🤤 #TeamRed #TeamBlue pic.twitter.com/lxg6xoNPir

That opportunity has one of the state's top prospects, Duluth East's Ryder Donovan, burning with envy. A concussion sustained during summer Elite League will keep him from participating, but he's happy for teammate Hunter Paine who also made the cut.

"Just all the attention on it from the local media, Let's Play Hockey, Twitter, State of Hockey, it just looks like it'd be so cool, said Donovan, a North Dakota commit. "I think it's an honor for all the kids ... and totally sets up the competition for the rest of the season."

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