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Ben Troumbly finds a new college home with Augustana after being let go by SCSU

Former Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin forward spent the last two seasons playing in the NAHL for the Bismarck Bobcats

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Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin's Ben Troumbly (8) celebrates scoring on Hermantown goaltender Cole Manahan (33) in the second period of the section 7A boys hockey finals at Amsoil Arena on Wednesday.
Tyler Schank / The Rink Live

Ben Troumbly tried to not let getting told earlier this year that he would not be playing college hockey for St. Cloud State get to him.

It was not easy. Troumbly, a 20-year-old forward from Bovey, Minn., had been verbally committed to the Huskies for about four years.

"Obviously, I feel like anyone would take it a little bit hard," he said. "It's not something you want to go through. I just had to keep going and move on and work for something new."

Troumbly spent the last two seasons playing juniors for head coach Layne Sedevie for the Bismarck Bobcats in the North American Hockey League. Sedevie has spent the last 12 seasons with the Bobcats, so this was not the first time he has coached a player in Troumbly's situation.

The 19-year-old from Cohasset, Minn., helped the Anchorage Wolverines reach the NAHL Robertson Cup championship game in the franchise's first season.

"When you have that happen to a player, you just have to tell them that you can't worry about it," said Sedevie, a former Bemidji State goalie. "He was one of our best players in points-per-game played (0.73). It may have went through the back of his mind, but he didn't let it affect his play and I'd think that's a huge part of why he's gotten another chance to play (NCAA) Division I hockey.

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"Some kids, they can't handle it and they let it affect their play on the ice ... He's just a great kid and I think he fought adversity through his whole junior career. This was just another piece of it. He's a leader-type kid and I think that's why he found another home."

Becoming a Viking

His new college home officially came with his announcement on Twitter that he had committed to play for Augustana University on June 21. Augustana will play its first season as a Division I program under head coach Garrett Raboin beginning in the fall of 2023 in an arena that is being built on campus.

The relationship between Raboin and Troumbly goes back to his high school playing days. Raboin, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, was an assistant coach for the Huskies and helped recruit Troumbly when he played for Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin.

"I felt like I had a pretty good year and Rabsy got to be the (Vikings) head coach and he was the one who talked to me in the first place for St. Cloud," said Troumbly, who turns 21 in November. "He knew my situation and he reached out and it wasn't until after the season and he got the job.

"We had some conversations and I went down and saw (the campus)," he said of Augustana. "He showed me what they're going to do with the rink and it's going to be a fantastic place."

Troumbly had 12 goals, 35 points, 38 penalty minutes and was a plus-11 in 50 games for the Bobcats, which included the regular season and the playoffs. That was after he had 21 points and was a plus-2 in 59 games for Bismarck in 2020-21.

"It's definitely an adjustment from high school to juniors," said Troumbly, who had 60 goals and 132 points in 79 career high school games. "There's a jump and I felt like I adjusted pretty well, played pretty well and we had a pretty good team.

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"I feel like I got a bit faster and stronger and played with more confidence," he said of the 2021-22 season compared to his rookie season.

{seqn) Greenway vs St. Cloud Cathedral
St. Cloud Cathedral's CJ Zins (15) reaches out with his stick to block Greenway's Ben Troumbly (8) shot in the first period of a Class A championship game of the State Boys' Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press

Finding success as a small player in physical league

At 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, Troumbly found a way to be successful in the NAHL, a league that is known for its physical play and with a number of older junior players dominating it.

"He's an undersized guy, but he competes," Sedevie said. "He tried to throw his weight around in the playoffs. But I think his brain and his stick are what make him have the ability to play at the next level.

"He scored big goals for us late in the year and I think he figured out that he needs to get around the net. In tight, he can make plays because he has such a good stick."

In high school, he helped the Raiders reach the Class A state tournament as a junior in 2019 by scoring two goals in a 3-2 overtime win over Hermantown in the Section 7A championship game. In the state tournament, he had three goals and three assists in helping the Raiders reach the state championship game.

"I had a great high school experience and I went to school with a bunch of great guys and, being in that small town, you play with those guys from mites all the way until you graduate," he said. "We were all really dedicated to get to the state tournament and we had to get by Hermantown. When we did that, it didn't feel real at the time."

Because he is out of junior hockey eligibility, he will spend the season working out and helping with preparations for the fledgling Division I program. Defenseman played the last two seasons as a defenseman for the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL. He is the second player to commit to the Vikings

And now he's going to get a chance to play college hockey, though he will be in a unique situation. Troumbly is out of junior hockey eligibility, so he will attend Augustana this fall, but will not get to play in any competitive games for the 2022-23 season.

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He will have at least one teammate in a similar situation in defenseman Will Svenddal, who is also out of junior eligibility and recently committed to Augustana. But he said he is looking forward to getting stronger and working on his skills with Raboin and assistant coach Andy Boschetto.

"It's definitely going to be a learning experience, but it's also going to be really exciting to start something special," he said of being on the first Augustana hockey team. "I think it's going to be a great program and they have what it takes."

And he said he is grateful to Raboin for giving him the opportunity.

"It really meant a lot because it felt like (Raboin) was watching and I feel like I know him well and he knows me well," Troumbly said. "I'm glad he reached out.

"He's a great guy. He's a player's coach, easy to talk to. I think he's got all the tools to be a successful (head) coach."

Read more Augustana Vikings news
Augustana men's hockey news
Because he is out of junior hockey eligibility, he will spend the season working out and helping with preparations for the fledgling Division I program. Defenseman played the last two seasons as a defenseman for the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL. He is the second player to commit to the Vikings

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com
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