ROCHESTER, Minn. – The first sign of sports returning to Minnesota came on Thursday with the 2020 NA3HL Draft. With three selections in the draft, Head Coach Chris Ratzloff selected defenseman Jameson Folden, forward Joey Malugani, and defenseman Josh Nelson.
For their first selection, the Grizzlies went to the back end selecting defenseman Jameson Folden 21st overall. Folden, 18, spent his last two seasons with the Rocky Mountain Roughriders 16U and 18U teams where he registered 22 points in 68 total games. The 6-foot, 170-pound defenseman was not easily rattled and played a good mental game with the Roughriders, having only been assessed six penalty minutes in his two seasons.
The Grizzlies didn’t go far with their second selection of the draft, picking Rochester Century forward Joey Malugani with the 75th overall choice. Malugani, 17, is Rochester Century’s All-Time Leading Scorer and has been tendered by the NAHL’s Bismarck Bobcat. The forward scored 137 points in 73 career games, and also dazzled as a member of Team Northwest in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League where he scored 17 points in 19 games played in 2019-20.
For their final selection, Head Coach Ratzloff went back to the blue-line picking defenseman Josh Nelson with the 121st overall pick. Nelson, 17, was a key member of the East Grand Forks High School unit over the past three seasons having logged 41 points in 74 games. Like Malugani, Nelson also spent some time in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League in addition to playing for his local team. For Nelson, the 5-foot-11 defenseman played two seasons in the UMHSEHL. In 2018-19 he suited up for Team Northwest and most recently played for Team North in 2019-20.
Up next for the three newest Rochester Grizzlies, they will have the chance to make a roster in the NAHL or higher this coming off-season, but should they not secure a spot, they’ll slot in with the Grizzlies who own their exclusive rights at the NA3HL level.