NAHL’s Ice Wolves filling needs ahead of sophomore season
The NAHL season ended prematurely in March after the COVID-19 spread, but the New Mexico Ice Wolves didn’t miss a beat, using the expanded offseason to start making plans for their second season that should start in the fall.
On May 12, the Ice Wolves selected three players in the NAHL’s first-ever Supplemental Draft.
Going into the draft, Ice Wolves coach-GM Phil Fox (pictured above) said he was looking to “target some areas of needs that we have.”
“We’ll be bringing back a bulk of our players, but we are still a younger team,” Fox said. “We’ll look to find one or two players with a couple years of junior hockey experience who can help us next season.”
Fox found that experience with the New Mexico’s first selection and fourth overall pick in defenseman Michael Ferrandino. Entering his last season of junior eligibility after spending the past four seasons in the USHL, the Lisle, Ill., native will bring age and experience to Albuquerque.
In the second round, the Ice Wolves drafted 2001-born forward Tim Washe (pictured right). At 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, the Clarkston, Mich., native will bring welcome size to New Mexico. Washe spent the 2019-20 season in Canada playing for the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers and ended the season with 19 points on 10 goals and nine assists.
The Ice Wolves finished the draft strong by selecting Scottsdale native Jack Bayless in the third round. Bayless is a UMass Lowell recruit and played the 2019-20 season with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild.
“I am very happy with our draft,” Fox said. “I feel that we were able to add a lot of depth to our roster with our three picks and accomplished what we wanted to.”
THREE MORE TENDERS
The offseason has also allowed the Ice Wolves to sign three more players to tender contracts for the 2020-21 season.
Forwards Jack Cohen, Jack Michels and Fabian Westling Alm are all now New Mexico property.
Cohen is a 2001-born Miami native who has spent the past two seasons playing for the Florida Alliance in the NAHL-affiliated NAPHL. After leading the team in scoring during his first season with the Alliance, Cohen averaged better than a point per game (18 goals, 17 assists in 32 games). He also earned a spot on the NAPHL 18U First All-Star Team (Elite Division).
“I am very excited about signing Jack to a tender,” said Fox. “I watched a lot of film on him and I really like his game. He competes in all three zones and has great offensive instincts. Jack can make plays under pressure and will make the players around him better also. We can’t wait for Jack to join us in New Mexico.”
Westling Alm is a Sweden native who skated for Timrå IK J20 in the J20 SuperElit, Sweden’s highest-level junior league, alongside another Ice Wolves tender, Philip Pallin. Westling Alm played in 44 games and collected 15 goals among 28 points.
“We are very excited signing Fabian to a tender,” Fox said. “Fabian brings a lot of experience to our club. He is a big strong power forward who likes to shoot the puck. He doesn’t shy from physical play and gets to the hard areas for his offense. We’re really looking forward to having Fabian be a part of the Ice Wolves and look forward to developing him even further as a hockey player and individual.”
A DeForest, Wis., product, Michels, spent the majority of the 2019-20 season with the SIJHL’s Thief River Falls Norskies and ended his rookie campaign with 30 goals and 57 points over 43 games, earning a spot on the SIJHL First All-Star Team.
“Jack’s numbers last year were no fluke.” Fox said. “He has a great shot and possesses a natural goal scoring ability. He puts himself in great areas to get shots and he will go to the hard areas as well to get rewarded. He is dynamic all over the ice and will help add some offensive firepower to our team.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Aug. 19, 2020)