U16 Coach Tim Jackman Shares His Faith Story

“He kept talking to me and trying to help me. And before you knew it, I couldn't keep any of my junk in anymore. I didn’t need another coach in my life.
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Knight Vision Oct. 2020 | Newsletter

Be sure to read the latest edition of Knight Vision for October 2020 and keep up to date on all the happenings with the Northstar Knights!

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16U Knights go 3-1 in USHL Fall Classic

GREEN BAY, WI - The Northstar Knights 16U team made the trip to the home of the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field for the 2020 USHL Fall Classic. Despite their first year as a program, the Knights proved they can run with the big dogs, going 3-1 on the weekend against some of the most well established programs in the country.

Friday night's opening game had the Knights against the #6 ranked Colorado Thunderbirds. Colorado would strike first, but Cooper Fredericks would tie it up in the first, redirecting a Logan Anderson shot. Colorado would again take the lead in the second, but Dawson McCann would strike only a minute later to even it at two. Colorado would again go up one later in the period, but Caleb Elfering knotted the score at three heading into the intermission. Northstar would take the lead for good wit just under five minutes to play, as Kaleb Pitman fired a shot off the left post and in to make it the final score of 4-3. CJ Kier played lights out in net against his former club, stopping 30 of 33 shots in the victory.

Saturday saw the Knights fall in a 4-2 decision to the St. Louis Jr. Blues. Luke Schelter and Jaxon Grosdidier would both score in the first to make it 2-0 Northstar, but St. Louis would score four unanswered to win it. John Simon registered the loss, letting up three goals, and Beck Liden gave up one in relief late in the game.

Saturday night had the Knights against Detroit Compuware. Compuware would open the scoring early in the second, but Pitman would answer back shortly thereafter to tie it, his first of two in the game. Schelter would score in the second as well. Anthony McIntosh scored in the third, and Compuware would tally one more for a 4-2 Northstar victory. Kier registered the win, stopping 20 of 22.

The Knights just missed out on the playoff round, leading to a Sunday consolation game against Little Caesars. LC would open the scoring on the power play in the first, but McIntosh would fire one from the point to tie it early in the second. LC would again go up one, buth Nathan Huntington would tie it up in the third, leading to overtime. McIntosh played hero with his second goal of the day, again ripping one from the point to seal the deal for the Knights. Alexandria native Beck Liden played strong in net, stopping 25 of 27 shots on the day.

The Knights are back in action at home this weekend against the MInnesota Blades.

Knights U18's win USHL Fall Classic

GREEN BAY, WI - After a hectic week that included game cancellations, schedule changes, and last minute travel adjustments, the Northstar Knights 18U team  showed that regardless of the location or opponent, they come ready to play! The team went 4-1 on the weekend to win the USHL Fall Classic, outscoring opponents 21-9 in the process.

Friday night's opening game had the Knights capture a win over the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies. Calvin Hanson opened the scoring for the Knights late in the first period, followed shortly thereafter by Maks Bure. Joe Westlund would add a third goal in the second. Oakland would strike twice late in the third to close the gap to one, but Owen Hanson's empty netter sealed the deal for the Knights victory, 4-2. Logan Verpoort played strong in net, stopping 15 of 17 shots faced on the day.

Saturday's first game against the Anaheim Jr. Ducks proved a challenge for the Knights, who saw their early 2-0 lead fall in a 5-2 loss. Jacob Napier and Blaise MIller scored for the Knights. Miller added an assist, as did Joe Westlund. Chris Brown stopped 21 shots in net.

Saturday afternoon saw a Knights team rebound from the earlier loss with a commanding 6-1 win over the Colorado Thunderbirds.Reese Laubach would open the scoring for the Knights, followed by a shorthanded Calvin Hanson goal. Blaise MIller and Owen Hanson would score back to back powerplay goals, and Calvin Hanson added his second of the night and Ashton Christman his first to finish off the scoring. Verpoort again played strong, stopping 10 of 11 shots in the win.

Sunday morning's semifinal was a rematch against the Jr. Ducks, but a rejuvenated Knights squad exacted revenge in a 6-1 win. The Knights power play was automatic, going four for six on the day, with two goals from Kade Peterson, and one each from Cody Croal and Owen Hanson. Maks Bure and Ahston Christman would also score in the game. Brown stopped 12 of 13 shots to win it for Northstar.

After the game, the Knights had the unique honor of having Travis Green, head coach of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, come in and speak to the team. Green's son was a member of the opposing Anaheim team, and he complimented the Knights for the passion and compete level displayed in their two games vs. Anaheim.

Sunday afternoon's final had the Knights again facing a familiar opponent in Colorado. The Knights came out guns blazing, scoring twice in the first 70 seconds with goals from Peterson and Laubach. Cody Croal would add another goal in the third for the 3-0 victory. The Knights defense and relentless pressure gave Verpoort an easy day in net, as the Thunderbirds managed only four shots on goal.

The Knights are back in action this coming weekend at home against the Minnesota Blades.

Strinden Commits to North Dakota


The Northstar Knights are pleased to announce that Ben Strinden (Fargo, ND), Class of 2021, has committed to the University of North Dakota. Strinden, a forward, is the first player in Knights history to commit to an NCAA Division I program. 

“”No one has worked harder than Ben Strinden to achieve this tremendous accomplishment,” said 18U Coach John Olver. “For the last two years, he has taken full advantage of the facilities available here at Northstar and he has raised his game to an elite level.

“Ben is a champion in every aspect of his life - on the ice, in the classroom, and most importantly in his relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Strinden is still enrolled in school at Northstar, but will be spending this season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL. A two-year player for the Knights, Strinden tallied 55 goals and 62 assists for 128 career points in 100 career games. He’s also the answer to a Knights trivia question, as he scored the first goal in Knights history.  Selected to play in the NAPHL All Star game in 2019, he gave his spot to another teammate as he was already tendered with the Minot Minotauros of the NAHL. He recorded one goal in one game played with Minot last season. He was then selected by the Lumberjacks in the sixth round, 82nd overall in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. 

Strinden was no stranger to Northstar’s staff prior to joining the Knights, as he has been involved with FCA Hockey since 2009. He has participated in multiple FCA Camps, as well as participated with Team FCA in the Chowder Cup. He was also honored as FCA Hockey Athlete of The Month in June 2019. 

Ben and his family have been heavily involved with FCA Hockey since Rick Randazzo visited Fargo in 2009 and stayed at their house while running skills camps in Fargo and Grand Forks. 

“Watching Ben grow from a seven year old to a college commit has been pure joy,” said Randazzo. “His hard work, determination, and competitiveness has allowed him to be recruited by one of the top programs in the country. His story is the blueprint for all current and future Knights who aspire to play college hockey. Ben exemplifies everything that we stand for: spiritual development, academic advancement and athletic excellence.”

The Knights are extremely proud of Ben’s accomplishment and wish him all the best moving forward this season and for years to come. Congratulations, Ben!

Knights Announce 2020-21 U18 Prep Roster

The Northstar Christian Academy Knights are pleased to announce their roster for the upcoming 2020-21 season. The Knights return eight players from last year’s Dixon Cup runner-up team, a team that won 50 games and reached number 10 in the country in the “My Hockey Rankings” for U18 teams across the country.   

This year’s team will feature 24 players from 11 states. Head Coach John Olver is entering his third year at the helm, and will have a new face joining him on the bench. Rylan Galiardi, who left the USHL to join Northstar, will serve as Associate Head Coach, as former U18 assistant Tim Jackman made the transition to Head Coach of the Knights’ inaugural U16 team. 

Up front, the Knights return Anthony Menghini (Brainerd, MN), who led the team last season with 69 points in 57 games. Kade Peterson (West Fargo, ND) returns as well, coming off a 28 point campaign in his debut season. Also returning for the Knights are Kaden Hjelm (Omaha, NE), Maksim Bure (Malibu, CA), and Clayton Brown (Bakersfield, CA). Defenseman Jacob Napier (Lancaster, NY) is the lone returner on the back end after 44 points last season. Goaltender Chris Brown (Reading, PA) returns for his third year as a Knight, coming off a season which saw him post a 1.16 goals against average and .924 save percentage in seven games. 

The new cast of Knights players features a mixture of both high school and AAA players. At forward, the trio of Calvin Hanson (Hallock, MN), Dylan Cook (Princeton, MN), and Cody Croal (North Branch, MN) join the Knights after all having impressive seasons in Minnesota high school last year. Blaise Miller (Minto, ND) is coming off helping Grand Forks Central to a third place finish in the North Dakota state tournament last season. Alexandria native Joe Westlund will be joining the Knights after three strong years for the hometown Cardinals. Hayden Helgeson (Grand Forks, ND) and Owen Hanson (West Fargo, ND) will also join the Knights, along with Ashton Christman (Lincoln, NE) and Wes Griffin (Park City, UT). Reese Laubach (San Jose, CA) will also be joining the Knights as a late addition to this year’s team. 

Despite losing a large chunk of their defensive corp, the Knights have reloaded on the back end. Mitch Simmons (Raleigh, NC), a two time USA Hockey National Camp invitee, will play a big role in his debut season. Brian Morse (Fresno, CA) and Jeremy McDonald (Lockport, NY) both join the Knights after playing at east coast prep schools last year. Christian Carto (Plymouth, MN), Tyler Johnson (Boise, ID), and Nathan Mulder (West Lafayette) will patrol the blue line for the Knights as well. In addition to the defense,  Logan Verpoort (Franklin, TN) will be relied upon along with Brown at goaltender for the Knights. 

In addition to the 24 Knights players, Northstar will also continue to school three players who have moved onto junior hockey for their senior year.  Ben Strinden (Fargo, ND) will be playing in Muskegon in the USHL, while Jakob Stender (Alexandria, MN) and Jens Richards (Detroit Lakes, MN) will be playing for Aberdeen and Austin in the NAHL. All three are two-year Knights players, and will stay enrolled at Northstar and plan to graduate in May 2021.

Northstar welcomes our new additions, as well as welcomes back our returning players for the year ahead. We are looking forward to another  successful season both on and off the ice!


Knights Announce Inaugural U16 Roster

The Northstar Christian Academy Knights are pleased to announce their roster for the inaugural U16 season. After the success of the Knights program in its first two years, we are looking forward to impacting even more players here at Northstar both on and off the ice.

This year’s team features 24 players from 14 states. One of the 24 is a USHL draft pick, and four are WHL draft picks. Tim Jackman has taken the Head Coach role, transitioning out from his assistant position with the U18 team. Josh Freitas will serve as his assistant, as well as the strength and conditioning coach for both Knights teams.  

At forward, Luke Schelter (Centennial, CO), a Sioux Falls Stampede pick in the USHL and Portland Winterhawks pick in the WHL, will be looked to help lead the Knights. Dawson McCann (Minot, ND), a Regina Pats (WHL)  protected player, will also look to make an immediate impact. Cooper Fredericks (Becker, MN) and Kaleb Pitman (Circle Pines, MN) are both coming off strong bantam seasons for their respective clubs. Also joining the Knights from AAA programs are Caleb Elfering (Richland, WA), Jaxon Grosdidier (Sioux Falls, SD), Nathan Huntington (Berkeley Lake, GA), Adler Johnston (Albert Lea, MN), and Joshua Oswald (Papillion, NE). Alexandria native Brayden Berg will be joining the Knights, and the team will also feature the first set of brothers to ever play for Northstar, Bronson and Tanner Hunt (Long Island, NY).

The defense will feature three of the four WHL draft picks, all of whom were taken last year in the US Prospect draft. Anthony McIntosh (Minot, ND) was selected by the Spokane Chiefs, Austin Moline (Las Vegas, NV) by the Swift Current Broncos, and Briggs Orr (El Dorado Hills, CA) by the Calgary Hitmen. All three will look to make a big impact this season. Also on the back end for the Knights are Logan Anderson (Elkhorn, NE) Garin Cernich (Anchorage, AK), Nate Farrell (Wheaton, IL), Brady Jones (Raleigh, NC), Lear Voit (Wexford, PA), and Alexandria native Luke Russell. The U16 team will carry three goaltenders this season. CJ Kier (Parker, CO) is coming off a strong season at the AAA level last year, and Alexandria native Beck Liden and John Simon (Fargo, ND) are coming off solid seasons for their bantam clubs. 

Northstar would like to congratulate and welcome our new players in this historic year for the program. We are looking forward to a successful first season!




Four Knights Selected in 2020 NAHL Draft

The North American Hockey League held their annual entry draft this week, albeit later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, four Northstar Knights were among those selected. The four picked include 2019 graduates Joey Dosan (Bloomington, MN) and Jackson Vercellono (Laconia, NH) and 2020 graduates Nathan Cox (Orchard Park, NY) and Truett Olson (Alexandria, MN). 

Dosan, a forward, was selected in the second round, 44th overall by the Minot Minotauros. A one-year player for the Knights, Dosan was co-captain for the Knights’ inaugural season, recording 27 goals and 47 assists for 74 points in 56 games. He spent the 2019-20 season with the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, posting a goal and five assists in 32 games. Minot finished this past season fourth in the Central Division, and 12th overall in the league.

Cox, a defenseman, was selected next in the sixth round, 157th overall by the Johnstown Tomahawks. Also a one-year Knight, Cox played in 51 games this past season, finishing with two goals and four assists for six points. He also added 50 penalty minutes for the Knights. Johnstown finished second in the East Division and sixth overall in the league for the 2019-20 season. 

Selected after Cox was Alexandria native Truett Olson, a two-year forward at Northstar. Olson was also selected by Johnstown in the eighth round, 211th overall. After posting 16 points in 56 games in the 2018-19 season, Olson nearly doubled his total in 2019-20, with20 goals and 11 assists for 31 points in 55 games. Olson finished his two year tenure for the Knights with 26 goals and 21 assists for 47 points in 111 games. 

Finally, 2018-19 captain Jackson Vercellono was selected in the ninth round, 223rd overall by the Maine Nordiques. Vercellono’s one year at Northstar saw him tally 27 goals and 35 assists for 65 points in 56 games. He dressed for three teams in the 2019-20 campaign, starting the year with two games and zero points for the St. Cloud Blizzard of the NAHL, before joining the North Iowa Bulls of the NA3HL. He posted eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 21 games before being traded to the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques, where he tallied ten goals and six assists for 16 points in only eight games. The Maine Nordiques, who are affiliated with the L/A Nordiques, finished the year seventh in the East Division of the NAHL, and 21st overall. 

Congratulations to all four players on their accomplishment, and best of luck moving forward in your hockey careers!


Galiardi Joins Knights Coaching Staff

Will serve as 18U Associate Head Coach, Associate Hockey Director

The Northstar Knights would like to announce the addition of Rylan Galiardi as the Associate Head Coach of the 18U program, as well as the title of Associate Hockey Director. He will work with John Olver and will be the future U18 Prep Head Coach and Hockey Director. Rylan brings a wealth of hockey experience to the Knights as both a player and coach.

Raised in Calgary, AB, Canada, Galiardi is no stranger to Alexandria. He spent three seasons playing for the MInnesota/Alexandria Blizzard in the NAHL, posting 110 points in 130 games. He  continued his playing career at the NCAA Division I level for Minnesota State - Mankato from 2006-2010, serving as team captain and MSU student athlete of the year in his senior year. After graduating with a degree in sports management and minor in business law, Galiardi played professionally in the AHL, ECHL and also a brief stint in the EIHL in Great Britain for the next three seasons. In his rookie year, he won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup as a member of the Florida Everblades.

Galiardi got his coaching career started shortly after his playing career was done as head coach of the Southern Tier Xpress in the NA3HL. After one year, he moved on to the head coaching position with the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U team, before transitioning to an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL. Galiardi managed the defense on the bench, and helped the Stampede win the Clak Cup championship in the 2018-19 season. Rylan also has coached at USA Hockey National Camps for several years.

“Our family is thrilled to be joining Northstar Christian Academy and the Alexandria community,” Galiardi said. “In only two years as a program, Northstar has proved to be a special place, filled with exceptional people. I am eager to learn from all the coaches, staff, and players.

“For me, Northstar will provide a unique opportunity to put my calling as a coach into daily action. I plan to invest in every individual by loving, caring and serving them with enthusiasm, in helping prepare them to become better men of character and integrity in the next stage of their lives, while at the same time helping them become the best player they can become.”

Galiardi’s family will be joining him here in Alexandria, including his wife Ashley and two sons, Lawson (4) and Skyler (1).

Two Knights selected in USHL Draft

For the first time in program history, two Knights players were selected in the United States Hockey League Phase II Draft this past Tuesday. Forward Ben Strinden (Fargo, ND) was selected in the sixth round, 82nd overall by the Muskegon Lumberjacks, and defenseman Jakob Stender (Alexandria, MN) was selected in the 14th round, 209th overall by the Fargo Force. Both players have been with the Knights since the program’s inception in 2018.

Strinden is coming off a season that had him second in scoring for the Knights, with 26 goals and 37 assists for a total of 63 points. He missed four games on the year to finish with 53 games played, and only accounted for 14 penalty minutes. He was also named to the NAPHL All-Star Game in December, but missed the game due to injury. Tendered to Minot of the North American Hockey League, he appeared in one game this year for the Minotauros, registering one goal. Strinden is the overall leading scorer in program history.

Stender led all defensemen in scoring for the Knights this year, and fifth overall for the Knights. Appearing in 51 games this year, he posted 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points. Stender was also named to NAPHL All-Star Game, appearing on the victorious Team HockeyWolf. He is tendered to the Aberdeen Wings in the NAHL, and appeared in two games for them this season. Stender leaves Northstar as the fourth leading scorer in program history, and highest scoring defenseman.

Congratulations to both players on being drafted!