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HOCKEY: Bemidji connections drafted into USHL

BEMIDJI -- A pair of hockey players with Bemidji connections were drafted by the United States Hockey League Tuesday.

Bemidji High School graduate Dillon Eichstadt and Bemidji State recruit Taylor (TJ) Roo -- both of whom played for the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League last season -- were selected in Phase 2 of the 2014 USHL Draft.

Players drafted by the USHL will not necessarily be playing in the league next year and doesn't guarantee players a slot on their respective teams, but all players drafted can compete for a 23-man roster slot at their team's tryout camp later this summer.

Eichstadt, a defenseman, was selected in the first round and 13th overall by the Sioux Falls Stampede while Roo, a forward from Coon Rapids, was selected in the sixth round (93rd overall) by the Fargo Force.

Eichstadt, a 6-foot, 170-pound defenseman, recorded 35 points (4g, 31a) and was a plus-14 in 51 games for Aberdeen, which finished second in the NAHL's Central Division. The 2012 BHS graduate was sixth overall in the league in defenseman scoring.

Roo, a 5-11, 175-pound forward, led the Wings with 54 points (22g, 32a) and was seventh overall in scoring in the league.

Should Roo, the Coon Rapids native and Totino-Grace graduate, play in Fargo this season he will likely be playing with fellow Bemidji State commit Cole Bjugson. Bjugson, a Roseau native, has committed to join BSU for the 2015-16 season.

Eichstadt has not yet made his college decision.

Aberdeen has plenty of connections to Bemidji, including another one of Eichstadt and Roo's teammates, Jordan Heller.

Heller, a 2012 Bemidji High School graduate, has also committed to play at BSU, either in 2014-15 or 2015-16. He was second on the Wings in scoring with 49 points (21g, 28a).

Aberdeen is coached by former BSU captain Travis Winter. Current BSU players Cory Ward and Reid Mimmack also played in Aberdeen.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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