A year spent with the Waterloo Black Hawks helped to prepare Justin Kloos for four successful NCAA seasons at the University of Minnesota; his time with the Iowa Wild in the coming weeks could help him make a similar transition to the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, with whom he signed on Wednesday.
Kloos’ two-year free agent contract with Minnesota will begin with the 2017/18 season. Meanwhile, an amateur tryout agreement with the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild will provide the opportunity for Kloos to make his professional debut this spring.
After appearing in a limited number of games for the Black Hawks in 2010/11 and 2011/12, the Lakeville, Minnesota, native skated for Waterloo over the entire 2012/13 campaign. Coming to the United States Hockey League as Minnesota’s 2012 Mr. Hockey Award winner, Kloos exceeded expectations while dressing for 54 of Waterloo’s 64 regular season games. He finished second in USHL scoring with 87 points – behind only linemate Taylor Cammarata – as the Hawks recorded a club record 273 goals.
That season, Kloos led the USHL with 58 assists. His +34 plus/minus differential tied for seventh, and with 29 goals, he tied for 12th on a league-wide basis. Kloos had 26 multipoint games in 2012/13, including two occasions when he stacked five points on one night. He was also a member of Waterloo’s entry into the 2012 Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia, and returned stateside with a silver medal.
This winter, the 23-year-old accumulated 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 38 games during his senior season for the Gophers. It was his second season as team captain. Kloos finished his time in college hockey averaging nearly a point per game (150 points in 155 appearances). He skated in three NCAA tournaments, including Minnesota’s final game this season, a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday.
Kloos is the third former Black Hawk to sign an NHL contract since his college season concluded, joining Mark Friedman (Philadelphia Flyers) and Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks). Boeser made his NHL debut on Saturday and has scored goals in two of his first three NHL games.
Two other former Waterloo players have spent this season in Des Moines with the AHL Wild. Zach Palmquist and Hunter Warner are both under contract with Minnesota and assigned to Iowa. Kloos played with each of the two defensemen in Waterloo. The Iowa Wild’s next game is Friday at home against the Chicago Wolves.
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