Former Waterloo Black Hawks forward Justin Kloos appeared in his first regular season National Hockey League game on Tuesday, taking the ice in a 1-0 Minnesota Wild loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
A member of the Black Hawks during all of 2012/13 and parts of the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, the Lakeville, Minnesota, native was signed by Minnesota last spring. Between Waterloo and the Wild, Kloos spent four seasons at the University of Minnesota, including two years as captain. He opened 2017/18 with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
“Justin was a special part of a Black Hawks team that had tremendous talent, and he stood out among that group,” said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley. “That was the team that went to Russia, and I think that the guys who were on that trip, in many cases, formed relationships that will last a lifetime.”
Prior to Kloos’ full schedule in the USHL, the Black Hawks traveled to the Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, winning the silver medal in a ten-team international field. In the year which followed, he recorded 87 points (29 goals, 58 assists) in just 54 games, finishing second in league scoring behind only linemate Taylor Cammarata. The third member of the line – Zach Stepan – ranked third in the league.
Kloos was never drafted by a NHL team. After playing for the Hawks, the former Minnesota High School Mr. Hockey Award winner joined the Gophers. He finished his time in college hockey averaging nearly a point per game (150 points in 155 appearances) and skated in three NCAA tournaments. With the Iowa Wild this autumn, Kloos recorded a goal and two assists during six games.
Six other Black Hawks started the season on NHL rosters, including Brock Boeser, who played against Kloos Tuesday night with Vancouver. Other active Waterloo alumni currently skating in the NHL include Kloos’ former teammate Ian McCoshen (Florida Panthers), plus Brandon Montour (Anaheim Ducks), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Craig Smith (Nashville Predators), and J.T. Brown (Tampa Bay Lightning). Zach Sanford (St. Louis Blues) is currently on injured reserve.
The Wild have a growing number of ties to Waterloo. Former Hawks defensemen Zach Palmquist and Hunter Warner currently skate in Iowa. Over the summer, Nick Swaney became the first Waterloo player to be drafted by Minnesota when the Wild claimed him in the seventh round.
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