Jeffreys is the first of 16 prospects selected in 2023 NAHL Draft

Forest Hills Central Alum Goes 24th overall; continues his climb up the junior hockey ranks

Craig Peterson

June 17, 2023

Photo by Nick Nielsen
Photo by Nick Nielsen

The 2023 North American Hockey League (NAHL) Draft was held on Wednesday. The 15-round event saw more than 250 prospects selected by the 32 member organizations. With the 24th overall pick, the Amarillo Wranglers added former Forest Hills Central defenseman Lucas Jeffreys to its 28-man protected list.

Jeffreys was a four-year letterman for the Rangers, playing 99 career games and scoring 64 points in his high school career. After graduating last summer, he spent the ‘22-23 season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) with the Weyburn Red Wings. He was the first of 16 players to be selected in the NAHL Draft with ties to Michigan programs, and the first of six MI-HS alumni chosen as well.

Schermerhorn, Zimmerman among five other MI-HS alumni drafted

Fellow members of the Class of 2022, Michael Schermerhorn (Traverse City West) and Hayden Zimmerman (Grand Rapids Christian) were also selected in the 2023 NAHL Draft. Schermerhorn was a four-year player for the Trojans, and played last season in the GOJHL. Zimmerman, on the other hand, was a ‘one-and-done’ after playing the majority of his youth hockey with Fox Motors. He spent his senior season with GR Christian, scoring 23 goals and 57 points. He also spent the ‘22-23 season in the GOJHL, playing for the Kitchener-Waterloo Siskins. 

The NAHL is a popular heading for Michigan high school players. However, making the jump from the high school level to the North American league is a significant one in terms of competition. Many high school prospects have benefited over the years gaining junior hockey experience in various leagues like the SJHL, OJHL, NA3HL and — in the case of Jeffreys, Schermerhorn and Zimmerman — the GOJHL before earning their stripes at the NAHL level.

Andrew Seminara is yet another prospect who was able to use the GOJHL as a springboard into the NAHL scene. After playing his freshman and sophomore seasons with St. Frances Cabrini, Seminara transitioned to Little Caesars for his 16U and 18U seasons. From there, he began his junior hockey career playing for the St. Thomas Stars in ‘22-23. That ultimately led to him getting drafted in the fourth round by Shreveport. 

Shreveport is a common destination for Michigan prospects. Last season’s roster featured eight Michigan natives, including three MI-HS alumni. 

A pair of Upper Peninsula prospects were picked up by two NAHL teams in the draft. Liam Beerman — played his freshman year for Marquette before spending the next three seasons at Shattuck-St. Mary’s — was selected by Anchorage in the fifth round. Former Kingsford Flivver Beau Kralovec went to Lone Star in the 13th round; the team’s final pick of the draft. 

MAHA State Champion Little Caesars’ top scorer Speck highlights list of 18U selections

After scoring 23 goals and 75 points this season and leading Little Caesars to the 18U USA Hockey Nationals, Sebastian Speck went 155th overall to Oklahoma. Teammate Grayson Gerhard went four rounds later to the Amarillo Wranglers. 

Former MI-AAA players Dominic Elliott (Fox Motors) and Patrick Czarnecki (Shattuck, HoneyBaked) were selected after spending the ‘22-23 season in the USHL. Both Elliott and Czarnecki are verbally committed to play NCAA hockey for the upcoming season. 

After having nine players sign NAHL tenders during the season, Biggby 18U added one more name from its roster to a junior team’s protected list. 2005-born Aden Gariepy went to Amarillo with the team’s second pick of the fifth round. The 6-foot-4 goaltender posted a 25-12-0 record in 41 starts for Biggby.

Cam Springer was the only 16U prospect playing in-state to be selected — or tendered — by an NAHL team. He went 43rd overall to the Chippewa Steel after leading Compuware in scoring this season. Fellow ‘06 Luke Janviriya went to Oklahoma in the sixth round. A Bloomfield Hills, Michigan native, Janviriya played this past season for the North Jersey Avalanche. He scored 11 goals and 40 points for the No. 9-ranked team in the country.

Fox Motors’ Owen Schrader rounds out the list of Michigan-born prospects to be selected. After being a point-per-game guy for the 18U squad, he was selected in the eighth round by Wisconsin. Ohio native Jude Hunt — who played for Belle Tire this past season — was selected by Fairbanks in the fourth round.

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