played three of his last five college hockey games at Xcel Energy Center, and with the number of green jerseys in the stands, they felt like home games for the University of North Dakota defenseman.
Genoway now hopes that his next game in St. Paul really will be a home game. The standout blueliner and 2011 Hobey Baker Award finalist, signed an entry level contract with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
"We've had the chance to play at [Xcel Energy Center] the last couple weeks so there's some familiarity there. It was definitely exciting to play there. It's an amazing building, and I know the fans are amazing."
The 5-foot-9, 177 pound Shattuck-St. Mary's product is coming off his final and most productive collegiate season in which he averaged better than a point per game (6-31=37 in 36 games) and helped his team reach the Frozen Four, where the Fighting Sioux were upset by Michigan in the semifinals.
The Morden, Manitoba native's story is familiar to many. He actually began his senior season a year ago and racked up four goals and six assists in nine games before suffering a concussion that ended his season in November. Despite appearing in less than a third of his team's games, he was named to the All-WCHA third team.
He was granted a medical hardship waiver, and returned this past year to surpass the 100-point plateau and move into fourth place on the all-time UND scoring list for defensemen with 127 points (26-101=127). He was named to the All-WCHA First team, and became the first Sioux player ever to be named an All-WCHA selection four times in his career.
College hockey fans in Minnesota had grown accustomed to seeing number 5 patrol the point over the last five seasons. And Genoway has grown accustomed to playing in the State of Hockey.
"That's going to be a little bit different. I'm used to coming down there and competing against the Gophers. But even though Minnesota was the enemy, now it's exciting because I know how great of a city [St. Paul] is, and how much the fans, and the entire state love hockey. I've had a chance to experience that for the last five years playing in the area."
The offensive minded defenseman joins a team well stocked with defensive prospects that include Marco Scandella
, Maxim Noreau, Jared Spurgeon
and Nate Prosser
, who was a college free agent signing a year ago. Still, Genoway felt Minnesota was the right organization to be a part of.
"I went through all the steps of figuring out what's a good fit for me personally, and whether they were interested. Obviously the interest level was good from both sides and we were able to come to an agreement."
Ironically, the last Sioux defenseman to average better than a point per game was Travis Roche, who posted 49 points in 46 games, and then became the first college free agent ever to sign a contract with the Wild.
Genoway will not report to the Houston Aeros, which will begin their bid for a Calder Cup with a first round playoff matchup against Peoria starting on Wednesday.
The All-Academic team member will be wrapping up school before graduating in May with a degree in business management.
"I've got one more class to finish up."