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Steel trade all of their draft picks in recent NA3HL draft

NEW ULM — When the North American Tier 3 Hockey League held their draft last week, the New Ulm Steel did something that no other team in the NA3HL did.

They did not draft a player.

“We traded all of our draft picks for players who have signed tenders and they agree that if they play in the NA3HL, they will be playing for the New Ulm Steel,” Steel General Manager Bryant Black said. “Every team gets 12 tenders and through trades, we signed 22 tendered players. There are some teams that have a hard time signing 12 tendered players — some teams signed only six or seven.”

But right now, the NA3HL — as is every sports team — is in a holding pattern because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As far as the league goes, everything right now is on plan for next year just as it would be normally,” Black said. “I just emailed the City of New Um to get available dates for home games so right now we are continuing as normal. Now is kind of a waiting period anyhow. We are hoping to have camps in New Ulm in July and August and hopefully hockey in the middle or end of September.”

Black said that there is no ‘drop dead’ date as far as whether there will be a hockey season or nor.

“Our season runs from September to March,” Black said. “Right now we are planning on playing 47 games and playoffs. If we had to postpone the start of the season –maybe we start in mid-October — and only play 40 games.”

One West Division team that will not be playing the Steel this season is Breezy Point. The North Stars struggled in recent years with attendance and poor play.

“They filed for dormancy which means they will not operate for a year,” Black said. “After a year they will make a decision to either disband the organization or come back or be sold for relocation. This was not a surprise to anyone — there were rumblings all last year so now we are down to five teams in the West Division.”

Black and the NA3HL know that this season will be one where finances are tight.

“We are all preparing for that and we do not know what that means until the government says we can start and how our fans and sponsors react to that,” Black said.

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