Junior hockey: Five local players selected in USHL draft

The selections included two players from Hermantown’s 2022 state championship team.

Hermantown boy’s hockey dominates Denfeld, 11-0 to capture Section 7A championship
Dallas Vieau (24) of Hermantown skates with the puck against Duluth Denfeld during the Section 7AA championship Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Several players from the Northland were selected in the USHL draft Monday and Tuesday and will have an opportunity to play hockey in the top junior hockey league in the country.

The USHL — Tier 1 junior hockey league — splits its draft into two phases. Phase I is 10 rounds of futures players, which are under-17 players born in 2006, according to the USHL website.

Phase II is open to players of all ages eligible to play junior hockey and are not currently protected by another USHL team.

Three of the five local players selected play or have played for Hermantown, including two from the Hawks’ 2022 Class A state championship team.

Hermantown boy’s hockey dominates Denfeld, 11-0 to capture Section 7A championship
Kade Kohanski (11) of Hermantown skates with the puck against Denfeld on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Sophomore Dallas Vieau was the only area player taken in Phase I of the draft. In his first season playing varsity hockey for the Hawks, Vieau scored 17 goals and added 13 assists in Hermantown’s march to the state title. Vieau was selected in the seventh round and was the 91st overall pick of the Phase I draft by Tri-City in Kearney, Nebraska. Vieau was also invited to attend the USA Hockey Boys Select 16 National Development Camp, as was Karson Young of Cloquet.


Hawks junior Kade Kohanski was selected in the 14th round of the Phase II draft by the Chicago Steel. A forward for the Hawks, Kohanski was third on the team in total points with 62 and tied teammate Zam Plante for second on the team with 40 assists.

Plante, the News Tribune’s 2022 All-Area Player of the Year, played for the Steel this season and scored 21 points in 31 regular-season games.

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Duluth East defenseman Garrett Johnson (20) (left) blocks a shot by Hermantown forward Aaron Pionk (11) during a 2021 game at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center.

Former Hawk Aaron Pionk was drafted in the first round of the Phase II draft — fourth overall — by Waterloo. Pionk graduated in 2021 and spent this season playing for the NAHL’s Minnesota Wilderness in Cloquet. In 51 games as a defenseman for the Wilderness, Pionk had nine goals and 19 assists and is committed to play at Minnesota State-Mankato.

Grand Rapids senior Ren Morque was a ninth-round selection by Sioux City. Morque, a defenseman, had eight goals and 26 assists for the Thunderhawks in their run to the Section 7AA championship game.

Morque could also see a familiar face as well with the Musketeers in Hermantown defenseman Ty Hanson. Hanson joined the Musketeers following the high school season for four regular season games and three playoff games but did not tally a point.

Finally, Will Troutwine of Eveleth was selected in the 10th round by Des Moines. Troutwine, a Holy Cross commit, spent the 2021-22 season with the Janesville Jets, an NAHL team in southern Wisconsin, and recorded 42 points in 52 games.

More from Jamey Malcomb
The former Spartans star recently started as an assistant for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks, a team he spent three seasons with as a player.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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