JBD signed with Ottawa, Kiersted signed with Florida
GRAND FORKS, N.D — After the college hockey season comes to an end there is a decision that every player needs to make: Should I stay or should I go? That was the case for five North Dakota players this week signing NHL deals. Two of them, D-line mates Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa Senators) and Matt Kiersted (Florida Panthers) were introduced by their respective new teams.
For me. It was pretty difficult just because leaving here has a special place in my heart,” Bernard-Docker said. “Bubs (head coach Brad Berry) is one of the most professional people I’ve ever met and he understand and knew I was ready to take this next step and encouraged it. There was no pressure from him or the coaching staff to stay or anything like that. They were unbelievable my three years here and helped me develop.”
“All the personalities of the staff and I think there’s opportunity here,” Kiersted said. “That’s one of the things I was looking for. Just meeting the staff and the members of the organization even over zoom on a computer, I felt that this is the right place for me and I’d get along with these guys. It’s the best fit for me.”
“Nothing is guaranteed in the NHL and Ottawa has a lot of super good players in the line-up,” JBD said. “For me, its about coming in there and being confident in my ability but I think at the same time being willing to be flexible with the coaching staff and all my new teammates. Figuring out how I can best help the team and go from there. Make sure to put in the work everyday.”
“I’m going to have to prove my own way. Show and work my way into the line-up,” Kiersted said. “I don’t think they’re going to give me anything right away. I’m just hoping to show what I got when to finally practice with the guys and hopefully catch some attention. Work my way for that roster spot.`
Joining JBD in Ottawa is the NCHC player of the year and Hobey Baker award finalist forward Shane Pinto who leaves UND after two seasons of being the team’s top goal scorer.
Goalie Adam Scheel who leaves UND after a career best junior season in wins, save percentage and goals against average joins the 2019 NCHC player of the year, Jordan Kawaguchi with the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate.