MANKATO — The roster is filled with the usual suspects, players from Minnesota's high school hockey powers. There's Edina, Bloomington Jefferson and Benilde-St. Margaret's, to name a few.
But this year, there are a couple of head turners, a pair of outliers from southern Minnesota, who were chosen to participate in this year's Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League.
Mankato West's Derek Frentz and Tyler Jutting were selected for Team Southwest, one of six teams of all-stars who will participate in the fall league prior to the start of the regular high school season. Both are aware they're not necessarily coming out of a hockey hotbed.
"It's a great honor," said Frentz, who will be a senior at West. "It's good to know you can look down here (in Mankato) and find good players. It's cool, and it's a great opportunity. It's quite an achievement."
The league includes nearly 130 players from Minnesota and the Dakotas, along with a team from Wisconsin and Faribault's Shattuck-St. Mary's prep team, and has been a must-see for college coaches and professional scouts.
"It's different hockey than high school," Frentz said.
Said Jutting: "It will definitely increase our tempo of play."
Mankato has had just two other players participate in the league in the past — Mankato East/Loyola's Logan Wenzel in 2004 and West's Corey Leivermann in 2007. Both were seniors. Jutting, who will be a sophomore, is the first underclassmen from Mankato to earn a spot.
"A lot of top players from Minnesota get picked for that league," said Jutting, the son of former Minnesota State head coach and current Nebraska Omaha assistant Troy Jutting. "It will help to play in that league and get that experience."