Kopfstein honored as one of division’s best

By Jim den Hollander 



Jack Kopfstein has been a huge presence for the Dells Ducks since his unexpected arrival in the off season between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. 


The now 17year-old defenseman signed up to attend the Futures Camp held by the Ducks and he has been a great presence on the blue line ever since. Local fans and players are clearly not the only ones to notice him as he was recently named as a Premier League’s Midwest-West Division 2022-23 All Star. 

A native of Vista, CA, Kopfstein showed up at the Prospects Camp seemingly out of the blue after selecting the Ducks as a team that could be a good fit for him. At the time he was playing youth and varsity hockey on the left coast.  

His impression with the Ducks was immediate but hidden somewhat on a team that struggled defensively. However, he stood out at the other end of the pond as well, slamming home three goals and a dozen assists in the season’s first 29 games before a collar bone injury at the Chicago Showcase just before the Christmas Break effectively pulled the plug on his season.  

Dells Ducks

But the defensemen didn’t shut himself down completely, returning for the final few games of the season and spend much of the off season in Illinois and Wisconsin, working out and attending some tournaments with incoming Head Coach Anthony Rohde.  

Kopfstein returned for the 2022-23 season and missed just one of 44 contests, scoring 14 goals and adding 17 assists for 31 points which was more than double his previous season’s total. Overall, the 46 points collected by Kopfstein ranks 27th best in team history and he is fifth among defensemen behind local legends Jake Stima; Bradley Hefner, Sean Teske and Beckett Patten. 

As an ‘05, Kopfstein has three years of junior eligibility remaining and he has a good shot at catching on with a team at a higher level (NAHL or NCDC). 

Kopfstein’s big shot and ability to move the puck might overshadow his primary job which is of course stopping the opposition from scoring. He was a primary piece on a defensive unit that cut 116 goals off its goals against total (333 to 217) this past season but he and the coaches both know that job is not finished yet. 

Being recognized as one of the division’s top defenders is no easy task, especially this season which might have been one of the best since the division was formed in terms of defensive standouts.  

Kopfstein joins Jacob Jakusz and Evan Izenstark from the Hudson Havoc; Kyle Cupolo from the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings and Logan Lake from the Minnesota Moose as the Division’s All-Star Defenders.  

It is nice but not overly surprising to see Kopfstein listed as one of the best in the division. He has been a huge part of the team’s successful move up the standings this past season. 

Coach (Shaun) Falzone and then Coach Rohde have been happy to have a player like Kopfstein patrolling the Ducks’ blue line. 

“Jack through the past two seasons has been one of the most reliable defensemen in the division,” said Coach Rohde. “Not only does he play against the other team’s top players, but also puts up points consistently. 

“His progression from a young player learning how to play juniors to being the ‘D’ that leads a team has been a lot of fun to watch.” 

All Star Forwards is equally as impressive including: Jack Pojar; Blake Bakey and Daniel Ellingson from the Minnesota Squatch; Tyler Schmitt and Easton Parnell from the Isanti Outlaws; William Tricarico and Tobias Falkeid from the Riverkings; Teodor Benno-Vaage and Ryan Mulrenin from the Moose; Noah LaFleur from the Steele County Blades and Harout Torosian from the Havoc. 

Nate Gulsvig of the Squatch/Havoc and Levi Preugschas from the Blades were named as the Division’s All-Star Goaltenders.  

The Dells Ducks and Saukhockey.info would like to Congratulate Jack on being named to the All-Division team and wish him luck as he looks to catch on with a Tier 2 squad over the summer months. 


Ducks down, but not out in USPHL playoff race

While showing some signs of snapping out of a funk that has plagued the Dells Ducks junior hockey team since early November, the team was definitely limping when it headed into the USPHL Premier League playoffs.
Certainly, the wins Nov. 2-3 against the Midwest-West division leading Hudson Havoc had to be a high point for the local club as the Havoc has only dropped three other games in regulation through the entire regular season – 28 games, to date.
When they followed it up with back to back wins in Chicago against the host Cougars the following weekend, things were looking up for the Ducks, but that’s where the season kind of fell off a cliff.
After the Chicago wins, the Ducks headed to Beantown where it dropped all four games played in a Showcase tournament. The woes continued on its return, the losing skid opening up to seven games before the Ducks finally picked up a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Blue Ox on the road Dec. 15. The Ducks fell the following day to the Minnesota Mullets and dropped three of four at the Midwest Showcase tournament heading into the Christmas Break.
The 117 goals against the Ducks is second highest in the Midwest-West Division behind only the massive 172 scored against the Kasson Vipers.
The Ducks challenged as a division front-runner early this season but now the team enters its final 11 games 10 points away from garnering home ice advantage in the opening round of the post season. In fact, if the post season started today, the Ducks would rank seventh and face the challenge of finding a way to defeat the Minnesota Moose, the same team that ended its season two games into the playoffs a year ago.
The season is far from over. The Ducks have shown it can win against the league’s top teams and that will be put to the test immediately after returning as the Ducks will being in Hudson against the division leading Havoc – the same team it earned that sweep against in early November. Of its final 11, only three will be on home ice, but the final four will all be against the two teams that currently trail the Ducks in division standings.
Getting home ice advantage might be a longshot now, but the team could still gain some momentum through the final weeks and use it to advantage as a playoff underdog.
The final six weeks will be a crucial time for the Ducks to become playoff ready.