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Steel Select 12 Players in Phase I of 2024 USHL Draft

May 6, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Chicago Steel News Release

GENEVA, ILLINOIS - The Chicago Steel completed Phase I of the 2024 USHL Draft Tuesday, adding 12 players to their group from the 2008 birth year.

The draft selections join defenseman Callum Croskery and forward Adam Valentini, who were both tendered by the Steel prior to the draft.

"We're thrilled with our Phase 1 draft today," said Steel Head Coach and General Manager Mike Garman. "(Steel Scouting Director) Bobby Goepfert and our scouting team did a terrific job identifying Steel prospects. We were able to draft a range of highly talented, competitive players who all bring unique skills to the Steel. This draft class embodies the intelligence and competitiveness we value in our players, and we can't wait to work with them in the future."

Prior to the start of Phase I, Chicago traded affiliate player Ethan Wyttenbach, a Round 5 selection in the 2023 Phase I Draft, to the Sioux Falls Stampede in exchange for a Phase I Round 3 2024 pick.

The Steel used that selection (35th overall) on forward Timothy Kazda from Ilava, Slovakia, who posted a team-leading 86 points (53G-33A) in 67 games at the Seacoast Performance Academy 15U team last season. His 53 goals were 22 more than the next-highest scorer.

Alexander Hage, the younger brother of Steel alumnus and potential first-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft Michael Hage, was the next pick for Chicago at 45th overall in Round 3. Hage skated in 32 games with the Vaughan Kings U16 in the 2023-24 season and led the team in points (53) and assists (35). He helped the Kings to a Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) Championship. In 12 playoff games, he scored three goals and five assists.

Easton Walos came next for Chicago in Round 4 with the 50th overall pick. A forward from Hartland, WI, Walos scored 89 points in 58 games with the Mount St. Charles Academy U15 team last year. His 66 assists led the team, and his 89 total points ranked third.

Three picks later, the Steel selected Jason (JT) Rothstein, a forward from New City, NY. Rothstein recorded 18 points (7G-11A) in 25 games at Taft High School. Prior to Taft, Rothstein skated in 41 games with the Long Island Gulls 15Us, posting 48 points (12G-36A) in 41 games.

Six picks later, still in Round 4, the Steel grabbed Joseph Salandra, a forward from Pleasantville, NY. During the 2022-23 season, Salandra recorded 15 points (5G-10A) in 14 games with the Mid Fairfield Rangers 14Us.

At 65th overall and with their only pick in Round 5, the Steel selected their first defenseman of the draft, Rhys Medved. An Elizabeth, PA product, Medved had a productive 2023-24 campaign with the Long Island Gulls 15U team, recording 74 points (20G-54A) in 79 games. His 54 helpers ranked fourth on the team and his 74 total points were tied for fifth.

Forward Nathan Chorlton was Chicago's next selection in Round 7 with the 95th overall pick. Chorlton wrapped up a season of Minnesota high school hockey with the Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders last season, scoring 36 points (14G-22A) to rank second on the team.

In Round 8, the Steel selected Drew Simonich with the 110th overall selection. A defenseman from Moorhead, MN, Simonich skated with the MN Blue Ox 15O last season and recorded seven assists and three goals in 14 games.

With their very next pick at 111th overall, the Steel went back to padding their forward group by selecting Luca Cannata from Commack, NY. Cannata put up 73 points (28G-45A) with the Bishop Kearney Selects 15U team last season to rank second in scoring. His 29 goals ranked second on the team leaderboard, and his 45 helpers were the most.

For the 125th pick which came in Round 9, Chicago drafted defenseman Alexandre Taillefer of Richelieu, QC, Canada. In 42 games with the Lac St-Louis Lions, Taillefer posted 16 points (4G-12A).

Chicago had two picks in the tent and final round of the draft and selected forward Viggo Björck with its first pick. A native of Stockholm, SWE, Björck played overseas with the IFK Täby Hockey Club and led the team in points (98), goals (33), and assists (65). His 98 points were 34 higher than the team's next-best scorer.

With their final selection of the Phase I draft, the Steel selected Max Brocklehurst, a forward from Halifax, NS, Canada. Brocklehurst had a massive year on the New Hampshire Mountain Kings 15O roster, scoring a team-leading 154 points with 71 goals and 83 assists, both of which also led the team.

The draft will continue with Phase II tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. CT. Phase II is open to players of all ages who are eligible to play junior hockey and are not currently on one of the protected USHL rosters. The Phase II Draft continues until all member clubs have filled their Initial Protected List to a total of 45 players, including those who were previously protected from the team's affiliate list.

For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit

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