Hudson Friesen was playing defense for the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in the early 2010s when he first met Dave Shyiak.
Shyiak was the head coach at the University of Alaska-Anchorage at the time and recruited Friesen to play for the Seawolves. Friesen ended up playing for the Seawolves from 2013-15, but Shyiak had been let go by the university after the 2012-13 season and Friesen did not get a chance to play for him.
But the two have stayed in touch over the years as Shyiak was an associate head coach for Western Michigan University from 2014-20 and then spent last season as an associate head coach for St. Cloud State. Shyiak ended up getting a recruiting tip from Friesen to take a look at Adam Ingram, a forward from the Winnipeg suburb of West St. Paul, Manitoba.
Ingram, 17, visited the St. Cloud State campus after taking part in a camp for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. He verbally committed to the Huskies on July 20.
"(Friesen) really set that up and they really liked me and it was about a 7-8 month process and it worked out really well," said Ingram, who said he started hearing from Shyiak in November. "I didn't have any other schools that I was talking to until the Youngstown camp. But I wanted to go to St. Cloud, 100 percent."
Proud and excited to announce my commitment to play division 1 hockey at St. Cloud State University. Thanks to my coaches, teammates, family and parents for helping me get to this point. Can’t wait to get started! pic.twitter.com/M97YEvV5Jr— Adam Ingram (@adamingram99) July 21, 2021
Friesen, 28, became the Selkirk Steelers head coach last season after three seasons as an assistant coach for the junior team. The season was shortened to eight games because of the coronavirus pandemic and college coaches could not go and watch players in person.
But Shyiak saw Ingram on video and Friesen shared his thoughts on him as a player.
"Dave is a great guy and someone that I respect a lot and has great hockey knowledge and he was somebody who made me feel very comfortable about committing to go to Alaska, which is pretty far from Winnipeg," Friesen said. "He was very respectful to my parents and my family. He still reaches out and asks me how my parents are doing to this day and he's been great to deal with and to reconnect on this level.
"We chatted a little bit at the start of the season and after our season got suspended in November, we talked a couple times. He asked if there was anybody on our roster that had some potential to play Division I. Adam was one of the names I gave to him and he took a long look at him. We only had eight games played, but (Shyiak) was able to go on video and watch every shift and do all the research and background that he needed to do. Adam had a great start to the season and you can see the potential of what he's going to be and capable of doing in the future."
Ingram is 6-foot-3 and 165 pounds and played wing for the Steelers. In eight games, he had two goals, seven points and eight penalty minutes. In 2019-20, he played in the Manitoba AAA Under-18 Hockey League for the Winnipeg Thrashers and had 19 goals, 39 points and 16 penalty minutes in 36 games.
"I think I see the ice really well and make good plays when I have the puck," Ingram said. "I have a really good shot as well."
"When we first started seeing him last summer and in camp, the thing that really jumped off the page for us was his skating," Friesen said. "He's a very efficient skater, good speed and he's got a really good release on his shot. But I think the thing that really separated him for us was his hockey IQ and his smarts. He's able to adapt, very coachable, picks up on things quick and asks the right questions."
Like most players his age, Ingram knows he has things to work on to fill out his game.
"I'm definitely working on getting faster and on my deception with the puck," he said.
Ingram said he is working out with Riley Dudar, who owns Evolution Hockey in Winnipeg.
"He will grow into his body more and he needs to add a little grit to his game," Friesen said. "What we talk about with our players is being able to create offense in different ways, not only off the rush, but being able to sustain pressure in the 'O' zone. The next step for Adam will be hanging onto that puck down low, puck protect and fend off defenders, cycle the puck and play that heavy style down low.
"Off the rush, he's very elite with the way he sees the ice with his speed. As he plays at a higher level, those opportunities off the rush aren't always there as much."
Friesen was taken by Youngstown in the 13th round of Phase II of the USHL Draft in May. Phase II is for players 18 and older who are eligible to play junior and are not currently protected by another USHL team.
After Ingram made the Phantoms roster at the end of June, he and his mother flew to Minnesota, visited St. Cloud State and then drove home and then had to quarantine for 14 days.
"Really nice facility, obviously, smaller school, which I like a lot," he said of his impressions of SCSU on his visit. "It felt like a good place to be.
"We spent some time with (head coach Brett Larson) and I really liked him."
With recruiting restrictions being lifted, it has been a busy offseason for the Huskies.
Besides Ingram, St. Cloud State has gotten verbal commitments from forwards Austin Burnevik (16, Ham Lake, Totino-Grace High School, 6-3, 190), Martins Lavins (18, Riga Latvia, 6-0, 176), Verner Miettinen (18, Espoo, Finland, 5-11, 165), Ryan Rosborough (21, Mount Brydges, Ontario, 6-3, 190) and Aidan Spellacy (23, Lakewood, Ohio, Robert Morris University, 5-11, 175) and goalie Isak Posch (19, Umea, Sweden, 6-2, 198).
Rosborough and Spellacy will join the Huskies when they report to school next week.
Burnevik will play this season for the United States National Team Development Program Under-17 team in Plymouth, Mich., after playing the last two seasons for Totino-Grace. Lavins played for Latvia and Miettinen for Finland in the World Under-18 Championships. Miettinen is the younger brother of St. Cloud State wing Veeti Miettinen, who was the NCHC Rookie of the Year last season. Posch will play for the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL this season.
Mask wearing at SCSU
St. Cloud State announced on Wednesday that beginning Thursday, Aug. 5, all individuals on campus will be required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status. The requirement will continue until further notice.