The Sioux Falls Stampede, members of the United States hockey League, announced today they have signed forward Jaxon Nelson from Luverne High School (USHS) to a tender for the 2016-17 season. Nelson is the third player to sign a tender with a USHL team this season. Eight players signed tender contracts last season.
A tender contract allows USHL clubs to sign a player directly to their team in exchange for their first or second round pick in the USHL Phase I Draft. Nelson was the leading scorer in all of Minnesota State High School Hockey last season. Nelson is the first player in Stampede team history to sign a tender contract.
“We're very pleased to have Jaxon join the Stampede next year,” said Stampede head coach/general manager Scott Owens. “He's a big, strong forward with natural offensive ability and someone we're excited to work with on a daily basis. We welcome Jaxon and the Nelson family to the Stampede organization and look forward to the next two years together.”
Nelson is coming off a phenomenal sophomore year in Minnesota at Luverne High School, just over the border from Sioux Falls, SD. In just 25 games this season, Nelson tallied 113 points on 70 goals and 43 assists while leading the Cardinals to the Class 1A, Section 3 championship game. His 113 points and 70 goals were tops amongst any high school player in the state of Minnesota, Class A or AA. The Magnolia, MN native averaged 4.52 points per-game and tallied three or more goals in 16 of his 25 games including a season-high seven-goal outburst against New Ulm on January 8th.
“It’s really special because no one from Luverne has ever had an opportunity to do this,” said Nelson. “This is a great opportunity for me to not only develop as a player, but also represent the people of Luverne and show that we aren’t just a farm town. It really means a lot to me to become a member of the Stampede.”
Nelson, who turned 16-years-old today, began his varsity career at Luverne as an 8th grader during the 2013-14 season. He posted 62 points (26g, 36a) in 25 games while leading the Cardinals to their first-ever Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament appearance in St. Paul, MN. The following season, the center/winger recorded 83 points (41g, 42a) in 25 games as Luverne advanced to the Section 3 championship game.
Nelson stands at 6-foot-2, 192-pounds at just 16-years old. The sophomore has already committed to play college hockey at the University of Minnesota following his USHL career.
Now in its fifth year, the USHL tender process allows teams to sign up to two 2000 birth year players prior to the 2016 USHL Draft. The first tender for a team would take the place of a first-round pick in Phase I of the USHL Draft, and if the team tenders a second player, that would take the place of a second-round selection in the USHL Phase I Draft. The final day for USHL teams to sign a tender is Sunday May 1, 2016.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.