Current, Former, and Future Bulldogs Highlight Wild Development Camp

By KBJR News 1

July 12, 2011 Updated Jul 12, 2011 at 10:48 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Four players and one coach with connections to UMD are skating this week at the Minnesota Wild development camp.

That's quite an accomplishment, even for a team that hoisted its program's first-ever NCAA national championship trophy this past winter.

"It definitely means we've put in our work, and that the coaching staff has done a good job to get the right players into our organization," Bulldogs sophomore forward J.T. Brown said. "You can see that with our players going to these different pro camps."

"It feels great, just shows that UMD has a great program with a lot of skilled players," UMD senior center Jack Connolly said. "J.T. is on my team, so it's great to be out there skating with a teammate. Unfortunately, [Justin Fontaine] is on the other team. It's going to be a little different playing against him, but it'll be a good battle. It'll be a lot of fun."

"It's a good feeling," former Bulldog and current Wild forward Justin Fontaine said. "When those guys can come down here and show their skills, they'll see they're great hockey players. It was a privilege playing with them last year, and Jack for the past three years. It's going to be a good experience, and they'll just take the pointers they get on the ice because it's a huge step to the next level.

"Anytime you get to step into a national championship program, it's an exciting time," UMD recruit Derik Johnson said. "I'm happy to be able to come up there and try to crack that lineup. It's going to be tough to do, but that's my focus over the offseason."

"It's good to see those guys coming down and they're seeing some rewards, and they had a great season last year," former UMD goaltender and current Wild goaltending coach Bob Mason said. "The last time I saw them here was the night they won the national championship. They're a great bunch of guys, and it's good to see them down here."

Fontaine has graduated, but Connolly, Brown, and Johnson all plan to be with the Bulldogs this winter as UMD looks to defends its national title.

Posted by Zach Schneider