The North American Hockey League Entry Draft this past Tuesday saw four Maine-born players get selected to compete in the lone Tier II junior hockey league under the USA Hockey umbrella.

The four that were selected were: University of Maine commit Maximilian Bogdanovich (Scarborough) in the first round to the Minot Minotauros, Joe Clark (Gardiner) in the fourth round to the Janesville Jets, Jack Williams (Biddeford) in the fifth round to the Maryland Black Bears and Grady Friedman (Portland) in the sixth round to the Springfield Jr. Blues.

“It’s good to see these kids from Maine get some recognition on the draft side of things,” Doug Friedman, Grady’s father and the former Twin City Thunder coach, said. “The reality is there’s plenty of other kids who could potentially have been picked, maybe this year wasn’t their year, maybe next year can be their year. You never know what can happen, but it’s good to see kids from Maine have opportunities.”

Bogdanovich, 19, played at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts this past season, and he had seven goals and 15 assists in 32 games. He was also drafted in the Tier I United States Hockey League’s Futures Draft in 2017 by the Waterloo Blackhawks and by the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2017.

Central Maine members of the national championship-winning Maine Moose U18 hockey team included, from left to right, Joe Clark of West Gardiner, Dylan Cunningham of Oakland, Zach Whitney of Chelsea, Matt Poirier of Gardiner and Warren Karlberg of Gardiner. The team won its third straight U18 USA Hockey Tier II national championship in 2019 in San Jose, California. Submitted photo

Clark played last season with the L/A Nordiques of the North American 3 Hockey League, where he was L/A’s leading scorer with 50 goals and 34 assists in 47 games.

He was the first of two L/A Nordiques players selected, as the Maine Nordiques selected Jackson Vercellono in the ninth round.

Maine Nordiques head coach Nolan Howe said he’s pleased to see all the player advancements the L/A Nordiques have had, as the L/A Nordiques has ceased operations with the Maine Nordiques Prep Academy coming for the 2020-21 season

“It’s fantastic, whether it’s (Joe Clark) or (Sergei) Anisimov with Twin City or Daisuke (Egusa) doing his thing, other guys are making college commitments,” Howe said. “It’s a credit to the generations that have come before us in the years prior. We are doing our very best to put guys in spots to continue to play the game they love.”

Prior to the draft, Clark already signed on to play for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League — one of the 10 Canadian Junior “A” hockey leagues under the Hockey Canada umbrella.

Before joining the L/A Nordiques, Clark split the 2018-19 season with the Twin City Thunder Premier League team and the Maine Moose 18U team. With the Thunder he had a goal and an assist in 17 games. With the Maine Moose 18U he had 18 goals and 10 assists.

“With the uncertainty of Canada (opening the border), the NAHL could be a great opportunity for him to crack a lineup this year coming up as well,” said Friedman, who coached Clark on the Thunder Premier League team two years ago.

Williams, 18, is a 2021 Northeastern commit who played in the USHL last year with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, where he had six goals and seven assists in 44 games.

Grady Friedman, 19, played at Northfield Mt. Hermon in Gill, Massachusetts, where he had nine goals and nine assists in 21 games this past season. Friedman also took part in the Thunder’s NCDC main camp last year. He was also selected by the New Hampshire Jr Monarchs in the NCDC Draft in June.

Doug Friedman said Grady will go out to Springfield, Missouri to try out for the Blues and assess his options from there.

“I am excited for Grady, it could be potentially a great opportunity for him in Springfield. They have a really good coach there in Tyler Rennette,” Doug Friedman said. “It looks like they had a young team last year. They have a lot of returners, so it will be a tough task to crack the lineup, but he will give his best effort.”

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