NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – The 2016 North American Hockey League Draft was conducted on Tuesday and the Brahmas selected the rights of 10 players.
In order, by selection, the players are as follows:
Round One: Levi Wunder (F)
Round Three: Austin O’Rourke (F)
Round Four: Alec Calvaruso (G)
Round Six: Joseph Berg (F)
Round Seven: Zachary Mirageas (D)
Round Eight: Nick Balestra (F)
Round Nine: Kimball Johnson (D)
Round Ten: Morten Jensen (D)
Round Eleven: Austin Pooley (F)
Round Twelve: Tyler Harmon (G)
The team “passed” after Round 12 because all 31 spots of the team’s protected list spots have now been accounted for. A team’s protected list is made up of players from the 2015-16 roster that are eligible (and selected) to return, tenders, and draft picks.
“I’m very pleased with the way things went,” Assistant Coach Jeff Potter said following the conclusion of the draft. “Normally there’s at least one hiccup along the way but I believe things went well today.”
Off the ten draft picks, three of them are already committed to play Division I college hockey. First round pick Levi Wunder will be continuing his post-junior career at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, defenseman Zachary Mirageas will play for Air Force, and late-round selection Austin Pooley will be an Ohio State Buckeye.
Joseph Berg and Kimball Johnson are two names that Brahmas fans are likely to remember, as both saw time with the team in the spring. Amidst a slew of injuries and suspensions to the Brahmas roster, the Dallas Stars Elite U16 teammates stepped up and performed despite their young age.
Beyond the NCAA commits and two familiar faces, the team additionally bolstered the depth in the crease by selecting Alec Calvaruso and Tyler Harmon. Calvaruso is coming off of stellar year at Detroit Catholic Central, which featured a sub-2.00 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. Four-year New Jersey Hitmen product Tyler Harmon never had a goals against average above 2.18 and also never had a save percentage below .900. During the 2015-16 season he had a 1.32 GAA and had an insane .941 SV%.
Those seeking size in replacement of Tomas Brejcha can look no further than Austin O’Rourke. The 6’4” – 215 lbs. forward is coming from Tier II junior hockey in Canada, where he concluded the season with nine points in 12 playoff games for Lloydminster of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
On the other end of the size spectrum, 5’6” – 145 lbs. St. Louis AAA Blues feature Nick Balestra is expected to bring the same sort of speed that many enjoyed this past season from Alex Berardinelli. The past two seasons the Ballwin, Missouri native scored over a point per game in the T1EHL U16 & 18.
Perhaps the most interesting selection of the draft though came in the 10th round when the staff picked Morten Jensen. The 1997-born defenseman has no North American hockey experience but has been a reliable structure in Sweden for the Rogle program since 2013. Fans may recognize the name of the organization from now former Brahma Johan Lundgren. On top of playing for the highly-revered Swedish team, Jensen has also represented Denmark internationally since 2012.
The NA3HL affiliate Texas Jr. Brahmas will begin filling out their roster next Tuesday when the NA3HL Draft takes place. For all of that information, stay tuned to “Texas Brahmas NA3HL” on Facebook and “@TXBrahmas” on Twitter. As for the big Brahmas, Open Camp will take place at NYTEX on June 24-26. Following that, Main Camp will be in Detroit at the Artic Edge Ice Arena at the end of July. Be sure to stay tuned to all Brahmas social media for more coverage on the recent draft picks!