MANKATO — When senior Derek Frentz wrapped up his last final exam at Mankato West on Tuesday, his future beyond high school was somewhat foggy.
Just about a half-hour later, it became pretty clear.
Frentz, the West boys hockey team's top scorer the last two seasons, was selected in the first round of the North American Hockey League draft. He was taken 16th overall by the Michigan Warriors.
“It's been quite a big day,” said Frentz, who will graduate from West tonight. “Finish all my finals for high school, check. Then I was drafted 30 minutes later.”
Getting drafted so high by a junior team kept alive Frentz's dream of one day playing college hockey.
“That definitely would be my ultimate goal,” he said. “But my first goal is to go to Michigan and make the team. I'll need to develop there for two or three years and see how it goes.”
Since the Scarlets' season ended in the section final in March, Frentz has participated in several camps, including three NAHL teams' predraft camps as well as the United States Hockey League's combine in Chicago.
He did not get drafted by a USHL team. But when the NAHL draft came around, Michigan, a team he did not skate for beforehand, nabbed him. He was the first Minnesota high school player taken.
Frentz has also been accepted into the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, so he had that possible path ahead of him, too. He said he can defer his enrollment in the business school by a year.
“It's good to have other options, but I'm committed to the hockey path now,” he said. “After the high school season, I had the mindset to play hockey. That's been my focus.”
Frentz is coming off a 73-point season for the Scarlets, scoring 25 goals in 28 games. As a junior, he had 70 points, including 38 goals, in 27 games. In his three high school seasons, he had 70 goals and 150 points in 81 games.
The Michigan Warriors play in Flint, Mich. They are one of 24 teams in the NAHL, which has teams in 11 states, including Minnesota, which has teams in Austin, Richfield and Cloquet.