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Meet the New Mexico Ice Wolves

New Mexico Ice Wolves, the NAHL’s newest expansion hockey club is still looking for their first win after 10 games.

By Josh Kaskinen | Image Credit: NM Ice Wolves

Even though the New Mexico Ice Wolves have gotten off to a slow start to the year, there’s still plenty of reasons to be excited about the return of junior hockey to the city of Albuquerque.

To open their season, the Ice Wolves traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana to take on a very talented Mudbugs team. After losing both of those games, the Ice Wolves headed up to Minnesota for the NAHL Showcase that saw them take on four teams: The Bismarck Bobcats, fellow expansion team Maine Nordiques, Austin Bruins and New Jersey Titans.

Unfortunately for the Ice Wolves, they lost all four of those games as well. As an expansion team, this is the first time that these players have played together at such a high level of competitive junior hockey, so there is sure to be some growing pains throughout this first season as they continue to learn together.

After their home opener, the Ice Wolves should feel positive about the level of fan support that showed up to Outpost Ice Arena. With a few home games under their belt, and continuing to get their feet wet by playing more together, the positive results should start to come together as the season goes on.

Coaches

GM and Head Coach- Phil Fox

Assistant GM and Associate Head Coach- Keenan Kelly

Assistant Coach- Kyle Follmer

The Ice Wolves coaching staff certainly has a Northern Michigan University flair to it, as all three coaches have ties to the NCAA Division 1 Hockey program in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Fox and Follmer were players there, and Kelly was a Student-Assistant Coach, Assistant Director of Hockey Operations, and Video Coordinator. Having three coaches that know and trust each other should pay off for a team trying to find an identity in its first year in the NAHL.

Goalies

#1 Henrik Kirk Laursen

#43 Josh Graziano

Goaltending should be a strength for the Ice Wolves throughout their inaugural season. Both netminders stand at 6’3” tall. Graziano will likely be the number one option for Coach Fox’s Ice Wolves, as he has plenty of junior hockey experience over the previous two seasons in a variety of leagues,including the U.S. National Development program and, most recently, the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Graziano was the second overall pick in NAHL Draft this summer, as the expansion Ice Wolves had the second choice behind the Nordiques. Laursen should be a reliable backup or second option as well. Laursen hails from the Honeybaked U18 program of the High Performance Hockey League where he posted pretty solid numbers over 19 games the past two seasons.

Defensemen

#2 Max Tobin

#3 John Garvey

#4 Keegan Langefels

#5 Brandon Holt

#6 Dylan Hadfield

#8 Cooper Anderson

#22 Logan Martinson

#74 Andrei Golikov “A”

#79 Keenan Johnson “C”

The Ice Wolves defenseman are an interesting group with a lot of potential. At the young end is Tobin, who at 16 years old could become a staple on the blueline over the next few years for New Mexico. Tobin also had the most offensive production of this group last season with 12 goals and 32 assists for the Sioux Falls Power U16, though it seems unlikely that he can keep that pace up at a much higher level of play. Several players in this group, including Garvey, Langefels, Holt and Anderson, were key contributors on their high school teams last season in Minnesota, New York and North Dakota. A couple of the older players will be counted on as leaders this season, including Golikov and the captain, Johnson, who bring in NAHL experience as they played with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays last season. There’s a healthy mix of good defenders, two-way players and grinders on this squad. If they can play well in front of the goaltenders, they should be able to give the team a chance to win games.

Forwards

#7 Spencer Rudrud

#9 Shamil Khadizhalov

#10 Michael McCosh

#17 Griffen Sanom

#18 Riley Cooley

#19 Tristan Rand

#20 Drew Lorinchak “A”

#21 Alex Dominique

#23 Jackson Wille “A”

#24 Tom Paradise

#26 Zach Frisk

#27 Peter Philippov

#44 Brandt Pedersen

#51 Creighton McMahon

#55 Connor Kemp

#71 Joe Paradise

The Ice Wolves forwards are another group with a healthy mix of skill and experience. A few, such as Rudrud and the Paradise brothers, have experience going fairly deep in the Minnesota High School playoffs a season ago. Rudrud’s Eden Prairie High fell to Edina in the class AA finals, while Tom and Joe Paradise made it to the class A semifinals with Mahtomedi High School. Some of the older players, like alternate captains Drew Lorinchak and Jackson Willie, come to Albuquerque with high level junior hockey experience, Lorinchak with the South Shore Kings of the USPHL, and Willie with the Jamestown Rebels of the NAHL. The potential for the Ice Wolves to have a few high scoring players this season is certainly evident with this group, though learning to play together in a new system will play a role in how the offense starts to click.

Number of players by State/Province/Country:

  • Russia- 2
  • Ontario- 1
  • Minnesota- 8
  • California- 3
  • Michigan-2
  • Arizona-1
  • Connecticut-1
  • New Jersey-1
  • New York-1
  • North Dakota-1
  • Pennsylvania-1
  • South Dakota-1
  • Texas-1
  • Virginia-1
  • Wisconsin-1

Number of players by Age:

  • 16- 1
  • 17- 1
  • 18- 12
  • 19- 10
  • 20- 2

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