The Topeka RoadRunners were busy on Thursday, selecting 4 players in the NAHL Entry Draft.
In the first round, Topeka selected Tyler Groat from Wyandotte Roosevelt HS. The 6’2”, 160 lb. forward helped lead the Bears to a state title last year. Head Coach / GM Scott Langer describes Groat as a leader with good speed and a great shot. He also possesses a good “hockey IQ”, a trait that coaches find desirable.
In the second round, the team selected Shane Bennett from the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. At 5’9, 175 lbs, the forward from Grand Island, NY put up 55 points in 49 games this past season. “Shane is a guy with high end speed and skill”, Langer said. “He will be an instant scoring threat, and he has the versatility to be a good special teams player.” Bennett was selected to participate in the Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge and also this year’s Bowman Cup.
Round 3 saw Topeka select James “JT” Hall, a 5’10” 170 lb. forward from the Long Island Royals, where he served as an alternate captain. “JT has a work ethic that never quits”, said Langer. “His determination and commitment level are part of the reason he’s had success.” Langer characterized Hall as a physical presence who figures to be a solid penalty killer.
With the fourth and final pick, the RoadRunners tabbed 5’8” 166 lb. center / right wing Brody Decker from Shattuck – St. Mary’s Prep in Faribault, MN. Another player who has skills that fit well into special teams, Decker is a hard worker with a contagious attitude. “His vision, his processes, and his hands will all translate into goals in the NAHL”, said Langer. Decker’s sister, Brianna, just won the Patty Kazmaier Award for womens hockey at the University of Wisconsin.
Each team was allowed to draft as many players as needed to bring their protected list to 30 players. Roster spots will be secured through participation in tryout camps, with the next Topeka camp slated for July 12-15 in Woodridge, IL. The season opening NAHL Showcase is set for September 12-15 in Blaine, MN.