By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Two current and one former Notre Dame Academy hockey players were recently drafted into the United States Hockey League (USHL), which is widely considered the most competitive junior hockey league in the country.
Seniors Sawyer Scholl and Jacob Conrad and 2018 graduate Daniel Laatsch were each selected in the Phase 2 portion of the draft.
Laatsch, who played the last two years for the National Team Development Program and is a UW-Madison commit, went No. 7 overall in the first round to Sioux City, while Scholl was picked in the 11th round by the Green Bay Gamblers.
Conrad was chosen by Sioux Falls in the 15th round.
A total of 281 players were drafted in 24 rounds.
The 18-year-old Scholl, a native of Medford, was named the Fox River Classic Conference Player of the Year for the 2020 state runner-up Tritons, which lost 2-1 to Verona in overtime in the Division 1 title game.
“I was watching the draft, and it was surreal to see my name pop up,” said Scholl. “A weight came off my shoulders. It was one of my long-term goals to get drafted into the USHL. My next goal is to make the Green Bay roster and eventually get drafted into the National Hockey League.”
Scholl said Gamblers head coach Pat Mikesch also reached out to him.
“Coach said, ‘Congratulations and welcome to the team,’” Scholl said. “I’m going to compete hard and do my best.”
Scholl said he has talked to a few colleges in the past, but playing in the USHL will get him noticed – hopefully, by a Division I school.
He scored 21 goals and had 27 assists for the 25-2-1 Tritons.
“We had a great year,” said Scholl. “The coaches pushed us to get better every day. The (state title loss) is still in the back of my head, but I can’t change the outcome. It’s a lesson learned.”
Conrad scored three goals, tallied 32 assists and was named first-team all-conference from his defensive position.
“Getting drafted feels great,” Conrad said. “It’s been one of my goals since I started playing hockey. All of my hard work in getting recognized is paying off. A big thanks to my family, teammates and coaches who helped me through this process. Sioux Falls is a great organization, and I’m excited for what the future holds.”