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Offseason frenzy begins with CCHA players signing pro contracts, entering transfer portal

Pro signings, transfer portal updates and Northern Michigan begins process to shrink rink size at Berry Events Center

Lake Superior State's Louis Boudon (29) is playing for the Iowa Heartlanders in the ECHL.
Shannon Stieg / Special to The Rink Live

A team-by-team rundown of offseason moves and news in the CCHA.

Ferris State

Defenseman Matt Slick, who posted 11 points and tied for the Bulldogs’ lead for goals for blue liners, signed with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL.

In three games with the Thunder, he has yet to record a point and has two penalty minutes.

Slick, a 6-foot-2, 216-pound Buffalo, New York, native, played 155 games at the collegiate level, played four seasons with Holy Cross before transferring to Ferris State.

The left-shot defenseman and his Bulldogs teammates lost 7-2 at Minnesota State in the CCHA Mason Cup semifinals on March 11.


Four Bulldogs are in the transfer portal, including senior defenseman Blake Evennou, who appeared in all but one of Ferris State’s 37 games this season. Evennou had a goal and 12 assists and finished the season with a minus-11 rating.

This page tracks the movement of Division I men's players in the NCAA transfer portal.

The other three players are senior defenseman Brenden Rons (no points in 11 games played), senior forward Cade Kowalski (3 goals, assist in 21 games) and senior forward Dallas Tulik (3 goals, 3 assists in 21 games).

Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan has begun renovating Berry Events Center in a project that will shrink the rink’s size from 200-by-100-foot Olympic-size rink to a 200-by-94 hybrid.

Wildcats head coach Grant Potulny, who played on an Olympic size sheet as a player at Minnesota, told The Rink Live the game will change primarily in the corners.

“You can get lost a little bit in the corner and feel like you’re accomplishing something but you’re not,” Potulny said. “This will force pucks to the front of the net more.”

The rink will shrink 3 feet on each side.

During CCHA conference play this season, including the two Mason Cup quarterfinal games, played at home, Northern Michigan averaged 3.71 goals per game at Berry Events Center and 2.87 on the road.


“I think it will actually generate some more offense for us,” Potulny said.

In the transfer portal from Northern Michigan is freshman forward Joey Larson, who tied for the second-most goals (13) for the Wildcats. Also looking to transfer are junior goaltender Rico DiMatteo (2 games, 4.04 goals against average, .868 save percentage) and junior forward Brett Willits (16 games, 1-1-2).

Bemidji State

Elias Rosen, a mainstay on the Bemidji State blue line who was named a first-team CCHA player for three seasons, has signed with the Kansas City Mavericks in the ECHL (Seattle Kraken).

In 134 games for the Beavers over four seasons, Rosen tallied 94 points, the second-most by a defenseman at the school.

Forwards Ross Armour (Savannah Ghost Pirates, ECHL) and Kaden Pickering (Iowa Heartlanders, ECHL) and defenseman Will Zmolek (Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL) have also signed professional contracts since the Beavers season ended in the CCHA quarterfinals.

Armour has a goal and an assist for the Vegas Golden Knights affiliate. Pickering has appeared in two games for the Minnesota Wild affiliate and Zmolek has yet to see action through Sunday for the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate.

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St. Thomas

St. Thomas announced that an additional $12 million raised through anonymous donations will be added to the $75 million gift from Lee and Penny Anderson to be put toward the design and construction of the new on-campus arena. The overall goal is $171 million.


“We’re extremely enthusiastic about the interest and excitement we have seen both locally in the Twin Cities and nationally for the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena. It has become even more apparent how important the arena will be as a community and economic asset to the city of St. Paul, the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota, and the region," said St. Thomas president Rob Vischer.

The arena is scheduled to open, subject to fundraising, in the fall of 2025.

Following its second year of CCHA and Division I play, the Tommies have added forward Noah Prokop from Colorado College via the transfer portal. The senior had two goals and four assists for the Tigers, who advanced to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff title game, this past season.

Prokop played two seasons with Omaha, tallying four points in 51 games.

In the portal are Tommies players Ethan Roberts, a goaltender who played in five games and posted a 4.53 goals against average and a .869 save percentage, sophomore forward Blaine Warnert and senior goaltender Henry Baribeau (one game played) and sophomore defenseman Trevor LeDonne (five assists in 21 games).

Lake Superior State

Several Lakers have signed professional contracts recently, including senior defenseman Jake Willets. Willets has joined with the Toledo Walleye, the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. He had four goals and 12 points this past season.

With Toledo, Willits has two goals and an assist through his first three games.

Senior forward Brandon Puricelli, a former Minnesota Duluth Bulldog, has been released by the Iowa Heartlanders of the ECHL. The Heartlanders are a Minnesota Wild affiliate.


Louis Boudon, a senior forward who had 24 points this season, joined the Iowa Heartlanders after playing one game with Laval Rocket in the AHL (Montreal Canadiens), where he signed an amateur tryout contract.

Senior forward Jack Jeffers has signed with ECHL Savannah, a Vegas Golden Knights affiliate.

Junior Jacob Bengtsson has transferred to Boston College. The defenseman scored one goal and had 22 assists this past season for the Lakers.

A host of Lakers are also in the transfer portal. Junior forward Logan Jenuwine posted three goals and three assists this past season for Lake Superior State following a nine-goal, 20-point season as a sophomore. He played his freshman season with Arizona State.

Senior goaltender Seth Eisele (2.86 GAA, .913 SV%) played in 17 games with the Lakers is also in the portal with junior forward Spencer DenBeste, who did not see action this season.

Senior defenseman Arvid Henrickson, who had one point in 31 games with the Lakers, has signed with the San Jose Barracuda, an AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Sharks.

Defenseman Jake Willets is playing for the Toledo Walleye, the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.

Bowling Green

Forwards Nathan Burke and Chase Gresock are playing with the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL.


Defenseman Max Coyle, an unrestricted free agent, had an amateur tryout with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL and was released Monday.

Defenseman Anton Malmstrom, who had six points in 33 games with the Falcons this season, signed a two-year, entry-level contract for $1.9 million with the St. Louis Blues and was assigned to its AHL affiliate in Springfield, where he’s without a point in his first three games.

Bowling Green’s “One Day” fundraiser for all its sports has the hockey program specifically seeking funding for new graphics in the locker room and players lounge, an overhead logo light fixture for the locker room and summer school support.

The Falcons, via the transfer portal, have added defenseman Tommy Pasanen from Clarkson. The junior had 14 goals in 33 games last season. They’ve also added senior forward Spencer Kersten from Princeton, who had 10 points this season for the Tigers.

In the transfer portal are senior forward Adam Pitters (2-5-7) and goaltender Zach Rose (5 games, 3.44, .891)

Minnesota State

Senior forward Ryan Sandelin has signed a two-year AHL contract with the Colorado Eagles in the Avalanche system.

Hermantown native Ryan Sandelin is joining his former Hawks and Minnesota State teammate Wyatt Aamodt in Colorado.

Senior defenseman Andy Carroll signed with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks, the top affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Other notables on the Abbotsford roster include veteran Kyle Rau (Panthers, Wild) and newcomer Max Sasson, who is coming off his sophomore season with Western Michigan.

Michigan Tech

Head coach Joe Shawhan is one of eight coaches up for the Spencer Penrose Award for national coach of the year. The Tigers finished second in the conference by a single game, advanced to the Mason Cup semifinals and lost to Penn State 8-0 in the Allentown Regional semifinal.


He won 24 games this season, the most in his six years at Tech.


The conference’s new team has added junior defenseman Uula Ruikka (1 goal, 6 points) from Providence via the transfer portal.

This article has been updated to correct the year of Max Sasson. He was a sophomore at Western Michigan.

Rob Beer is the digital content manager for Forum Communications. A journalist with Forum Communications since 1991, he is the editor of The Rink Live and helps cover the CCHA. He also assists with other content produced by Forum Communications.
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