It’s April, the temperatures have recently hit the 80’s in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Brewers season is in full swing and thoughts of the ice rink may have been replaced by golf clubs, baseball bats, bicycles and boats. However, for 40 WIAA players they will still be focused on hockey because they are competing at the CCM Minnesota National Invitational Tournament (NIT) April 20-23, 2023 in Plymouth, Minnesota.
The CCM NIT tournament started in 2010. For 25 years prior to the CCM NIT, Wisconsin sent teams to the now defunct Chicago Showcase. To fill the void with the dissolution of the Chicago Showcase, in stepped our neighbors from the State of Hockey. The CCM NIT is organized by Minnesota Hockey, Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association and CCM to provide an opportunity for high school players to showcase their talents in front of scouts.
Scouts from all the US junior leagues, plus some Canadian junior league scouts consistently attend. In addition, the CCM NIT Tournament Director, Chris Lonke, shared with me “NCAA D-1 coaches definitely attend, NHL scouts attend but it depends on who is playing.” The timing of the CCM NIT is excellent for the scouts because it is just prior to the junior league drafts, and the NCAA season is completed. “We absolutely scout the NIT. It is a great showcase with tons of talented players. The players get exposure from all levels of junior hockey,” Logan Murphy, North Iowa Bulls (NAHL) assistant coach.
For the 2023 CCM NIT, it will be an 8-team tournament featuring two teams from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. North Dakota and Colorado each send one team.
Wisconsin has one team solely with 12th grade players, called Wisconsin Seniors. “I am really excited. It’s going to be an amazing opportunity to play with so many great players,” Eliott Mikesch, 12th grade, Bay Port.
• Blake Milton, G, New Richmond
• Easton Schmit, D, New Richmond
• Oliver Schroeder, D, Hudson
• Caden Bartelme, D, Ashwaubenon
• Blake Lokken, D, Baldwin-Woodville
• Monte Goold, D, Hayward
• Michael McIntee, D, Notre Dame
• Colin Comeau, F, Onalaska
• Eliott Mikesch, F, Bay Port
• Alex Pottratz, F, Hudson
• Hunter Bill, F, Notre Dame
• Kade Smigaj, F, Stevens Point
• Reece Cordray, F, Verona
• Sam Lyons, F, Bay Port
• Carson Strapon, F, Hudson
• Jack Bowe, F, Chippewa Falls
• Carson Gotelaere, F, Superior
• Tyler Steuck, F, Janesville
• Conrad Moline, F, Verona
• Devin Schutt, G, Arrowhead
Wisconsin’s next team is called Wisconsin HP-18. Wisconsin HP-18 is for players that are below 12th grade, and most of the team is in 11th grade. “I am hoping to show my talent and skill to the scouts at NIT. I think our Wisconsin group this year should be very fast and physical.” Dylan Byrne, 11th grade, Eau Claire Memorial.
• Devin Rustlie, G, Bay Port
• Caden Feinstein, D, Madison Memorial
• Nick Madsen, D, Eau Claire Memorial
• Brecken Meyer, D, Hudson
• Mason Peapenburg, D, Notre Dame
• David Dina, D, Verona
• Dylan Byrne, D, Eau Claire Memorial
• Jackson Hoem, F, Chippewa Falls
• Talan Blanck, F, St. Mary’s Springs
• Sam Kappell, F, Notre Dame
• Mason Johnson, F, Chippewa Falls
• Catcher Langeness, F, New Richmond
• Will McDonald, F, Madison West
• Joseph Coghlin, F, Notre Dame
• Carsen Gause, F, Wisconsin Rapids
• Vincent Greene, F, Amery
• Noah Gillette, F, Onalaska
• Brady Engelkes, F, Middleton
• Nicholas Voss, F, Bay Port
• Rowan White, G, Madison Edgewood
Both Wisconsin teams are coached by a former highly successful WIAA coach. Wisconsin Seniors, in his 20th year, is coached by Tim Ebner. In addition to coaching the Wisconsin Seniors, Ebner coached Onalaska HS and compiled a 286-81-8 record, 12 conference titles, 10 sectional finals, 4 trips to WIAA state-playing in one championship. Wisconsin’s HP-18 team is coached by Cal Roadhouse. Roadhouse grew up in Canada and played professionally, including with the Edmonton Oilers, and ended his playing career with the Milwaukee Admirals. Roadhouse coached at University School of Milwaukee from 1985 to 2015, winning four state championships, two WIAA and two WISAA.
Thursday, April 20
• 2:15PM Minnesota HP-18 vs. Wisconsin Seniors
• 4:30PM Minnesota Seniors vs. Wisconsin HP-18
Friday, April 21
• 2:15PM Colorado vs. Wisconsin Seniors
• 4:30PM Wisconsin HP-18 vs. Michigan HP-18
Saturday, April 22
• 10AM Wisconsin HP-18 vs. North Dakota
• 12:15PM Wisconsin Seniors vs. Michigan Seniors
Sunday, April 23 (times to be determined)
8AM 4th in each pool
8:15AM 3rd in each pool
10:30AM 2nd in each pool
12:45PM 1st in each pool
Best wishes to each player and the coaches as they represent Wisconsin at the 2023 CCM NIT!