Roseau’s Severson having banner year for Gillette Wild
by Bryan Zollman
Like many young hockey players, once the buzzer sounded on that final high school game, Adam Severson wasn’t ready to be done playing hockey.
Growing up in Roseau, Minn., hockey had become a huge part of his life. For whatever reason, the love for the game just doesn’t seem to waver once the curtain drops after high school hockey.
“I realized I wasn’t done yet,” said Severson, a 19-year-old forward for the Gillette Wild in the NA3HL. “I needed to see what I could do. My love for the sport had taken over.”
Severson’s opportunity to continue his passion of playing competitive hockey was with the NA3HL, an affiliate of the North American Hockey League, one of the top junior leagues in the country, home to hundreds of players who, like Severson, want to play college hockey.
“My goal is to play at the collegiate level, get a discount on school and see where it takes me from there,” he said.
He’s off to a good start. Severson enters this weekend’s NA3HL Showcase leading the league in scoring with 28 goals and 36 assists. His 64 points are 25 more than the next player. Severson also played for Gillette last season and had 58 points in 41 games. He said working on his game in the offseason has helped him get better, which has improved his production and helped the Wild win 24 of their first 25 games.
“My biggest improvement was my confidence,” said Severson. “I skated a lot of the summer in Roseau working on confidence with the puck, the ability to take a guy one on one and shoot from weird angles.”
Severson said the jump from high school to juniors was a definite step up.
“I went from being a bigger, stronger and faster player in high school back to playing against guys three years older than me,” he said. “As a player I adjusted to that speed and physicality. I also learned you had to be a little creative by making your own time and space, going to open areas and finding soft spots better.”
Severson has come a long way since his days growing up in the small northern Minnesota town of Roseau. He remembers as a youngster sitting at high school games and watching the players play in front of the entire community.
“We dreamed of being in their shoes and representing the high school and the city,” he said.
That dream came true.
“Playing for the high school team was an unforgettable experience, growing up since three years old and skating with the same kids and becoming a family” he said.
He feels the same playing junior hockey in Gillette, Wyoming. While a 12-hour car ride from home and missing out on his little sisters sporting events and some family gatherings, he is loving life and his newfound family.
“Gillette is a blast,” he said. “We have a great group of guys. One of the biggest things, being this far away from home, is to have a family and our team brings a family atmosphere day in and day out.”
Severson and teammate Todd Powassin live with the same billet family. Powassin is a native of Warroad, a storied rival of Roseau.
“We butt heads from time to time, but he is the greatest guy I know,” said Severson.
Severson said when not playing hockey, the team is often still together having fun during poker nights, movie nights, or going bowling or golfing.
“We keep ourselves plenty busy outside of the rink,” he said.
On the ice, Severson continues to hone his skills. He said one area he needs to improve on is his speed.
“Speed kills and the more you have, the better player you are,” he said. “I am also working on my physicality to knock people off the puck and become more of an effective forechecker to create more chances.”
Severson has a strong hockey IQ and sees the ice well, evidenced by his gaudy numbers.
“I always shoot or pass with a purpose,” he said. “I put pucks in areas where other players can create scoring chances.”
Wyatt Schmitz played high school hockey at Academy of Holy Angels and is a teammate of Severson. He is also in his second season.
“Adam is an unbelievable player,” Schmitz said. “He’s great leader on and off the ice.”
Schmitz is a defenseman for the Wild and has witnessed Severson put together a memorable campaign so far. The team is 24-1 heading into play this weekend.
“He sees the ice so well,” he said. “He constantly knows what he’s going to do with the puck before it even comes to him. He’s also an extremely hard worker and I think that’s why he has been so dominant in the league.”
Like Severson, Schmitz has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Wild.
“I’ve had a great experience out here,” he said. “It’s been a great group of guys these past two years. It’s a great step in growing your game.”
Schmitz said he enjoys playing a with a group of guys who have the same passion and goals, which is to advance their game and play college hockey.
“Getting to play with a group of guys you’ve never met and end up having a close bond with is an experience you don’t get any other way,” he said.
This weekend the Wild squad will be amongst a large contingent of players battling each other not just to win a hockey game, but perhaps raise the eyebrows of an NAHL scout or college coach.
Severson, Schmitz, Powassin and all the others who will hit the ice at the Showcase hope their play translates into the dream of playing college hockey.
In the meantime, they’ll have fun doing it.
For Severson, he is going to enjoy it as much as he can. He’s going to continue following his passion, while at the same time chasing his dream of playing college hockey.
“You have the rest of your life to work,” said Severson. “Play hockey, have fun and enjoy your time with your teammates, friends and family.”