Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros are proud to announce that forward Kyle Kukkonen has been selected 162nd overall with the second pick in the sixth round of the NHL Draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
Kukkonen, from Maple Grove, MN, tied for the Tauros team lead with five points in five games in the post-season, and in the regular season Kukkonen posted 16 points on nine goals and seven assists in 19 games split before and after the Minnesota high school season. While with Maple Grove High School this season Kukkonen posted an unbelievable 74 points in 23 games.
As for getting drafted, Kukkonen said, “the feeling of being drafted is unbelievable. After getting that call I couldn’t be more thankful. It was super exciting and I look forward to the future!” The Ducks draft pick continued, “my time in Minot was absolutely amazing. The coaching and the facilities were amazing too and helped me develop into the player I am today. I can’t thank the Minot Minotauro organization enough!”
Tauros Head Coach and General Manager was ecstatic for Kukkonen, “we’re excited for Kyle. He’s put in the time and effort to become a high end player. We’re happy to have had him in a Tauros jersey, he scored some big goals for us.” Perhaps the biggest of those goals was the overtime forcing goal in the final minute of Game 5 of the Tauros playoff series with Aberdeen. Though the Tauros would eventually lose the game the goal showed that Kukkonen can raise his game to the moment.
Kukkonen becomes the third Tauro or Tauro alum with NHL ties and the second to be an NHL Draft pick. Tauro alum Blake Lizotte (Tauro 2014-15) signed with the Los Angeles Kings as an undrafted free agent out of St. Cloud State and will be going into his third NHL season this fall. Goaltender Merrick Madsen (Tauro 2013-14) was selected with the 11th pick in the 6th round of the 2013 NHL Draft.