Noah Cates prepares for hometown NHL debut with Flyers
ST. PAUL, MN. (KBJR) - Former UMD men’s hockey captain Noah Cates has officially made it to the big leagues.
The Stillwater, MN native joined his new pro team just hours after the Bulldogs’ season came to an end in the NCAA tournament.
“Yeah kind of a whirlwind, it happened pretty quick. Obviously pretty disappointing that my four years at Duluth are over, it was an awesome four years, all the memories and people up there are so special to me, but kind of closing the page pretty quickly, and coming down here,” said Cates.
Despite the emotional loss in the regional final, the entire UMD men’s hockey team plans to make the trip down to the Xcel Energy Center for his NHL debut with the Philadelphia Flyers, which just happens to be in Minnesota against the Wild.
“Pretty special that they’re finding their way down, and just so many family and friends from around here will be here, so obviously really excited for that,” Cates added.
He said between hometown friends, college teammates, and family members, there will be too many supporters in the building for him to even count.
It’s a special reunion for Cates with his new bench boss Mike Yeo as well. Cates grew up playing with Yeo’s son Kyler with the Minnesota Icemen, and knew Mike as the “cool dad” amongst his friends.
“I just remember at that time, just thinking I don’t ever remember a player at that age just thinking you could see the hockey sense in a player. You know, on the offensive side, and even on the defensive side,” said Yeo.
“And at that time, to be honest with you, I think it was really something that helped him in his career because at that time he was a small player. And so when you’re a small player, you look at a guy like Jared Spurgeon and how he has to think his way around the ice, and makes him such a high hockey sense player is because his whole life, he was like that, Noah was like that when he was younger.”
Yeo emphasized that above anything else, he just wants Noah to enjoy his once in a lifetime moment tonight. Despite the added coincidence of being in his hometown, he Yeo wants him to trust his instincts and play his game.
Cates was a 5th round pick of the Flyers in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He joins his brother Jackson in the Flyers organization, who is currently out with an injury, but flew in to Minnesota for Noah’s big day.
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