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'I never expected to be talking to NHL teams': Fargo native Ben Strinden gets final shot at NHL Draft

The UND commit prepares for his third and final NHL draft this weekend.

UND commit Ben Strinden of the Muskegon Lumberjacks fights for the puck in a game against the Dubuque Fighting Saints this season.
Pardon Photography/Muskegon Lumberjacks

FARGO — It's the weekend of the NHL Draft and the lives of several teenagers across the country are about to change. For Fargo native and future UND forward, Ben Strinden, it’s his final shot at getting his name called.

"I never expected to be talking to NHL teams," said Ben Strinden.

It all started when he was lacing up the skates for Fargo South-Shanley. Now Ben Strinden is prepping for his third and final NHL draft.

“I never really expected it to be potentially a reality for me.”

Strinden's rise continued at North Star Christian Academy before eventually landing a spot in the USHL with Muskegon, but his first year was anything but easy.


“I had two concussions. I only played like 20 games, so I knew I wasn’t going to get drafted.”

Strinden was given a chance to make a statement in year two for the Lumberjacks.

“I kind of knew that it was an opportunity to grow not only as a player but also as a person," said Strinden. "I used it just kind of as motivation, I knew I could be an impact and a good player."

The forward closing out the season scoring 25 goals and 56 points for Muskegon. Numbers like that catching the attention of several NHL scouts.

“Detroit, Tampa Bay, the Maple Leafs were the first team to reach out to me, but there’s been around ten I’ve had a couple of calls with,” Strinden said.

Strinden is heading to UND in the fall and while he may not have even suited up for the Fighting Hawks yet, he's turning to future teammates in Grand Forks to help through the process.

"Tyler Kleven just told me, obviously that no matter what happens, you don’t have to get drafted, but it’s an honor too. He obviously wants me to especially to Ottawa," Strinden said.

The Fargo native just wants a shot and is expected to be selcted in one of the later rounds. But no matter what happens, Strinden is determined to achieve his NHL dream.


"Even if I don’t get drafted I’m going to use that as motivation, then sign a free agency deal because obviously it’s my goal to play in the NHL and it might take a while but I know I’ll get there," Strinden said.

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