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Shane Gersich becomes UND's 100th NHL player after debut with Washington Capitals

Shane Gersich made his NHL debut Wednesday night for the Washington Capitals -- and it was a milestone one for the UND men's hockey program. When Gersich skated onto the ice at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., he became the 100th UND player...

Washington Capitals left wing Shane Gersich (63) skates with the puck during his first NHL game in front of New York Rangers center Lias Andersson (50) during the first period at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night. Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Capitals left wing Shane Gersich (63) skates with the puck during his first NHL game in front of New York Rangers center Lias Andersson (50) during the first period at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night. Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
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Shane Gersich made his NHL debut Wednesday night for the Washington Capitals -- and it was a milestone one for the UND men’s hockey program.

When Gersich skated onto the ice at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., he became the 100th UND player to suit up in an NHL game.

UND and Minnesota are the only two college hockey programs to have 100 NHL players.

UND reached the mark thanks to a rush of NHL players stemming from the 2015-16 NCAA national championship team.

Eight players from that team have already made their NHL debuts, and 13 UND players have debuted in the last two seasons alone.

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A total of 42 of UND’s NHLers made their debuts after the opening of the new Ralph Engelstad Arena in 2001.

UND’s first NHL player was Dennis Hextall, who made his debut with the New York Rangers in 1968.

Three players made their debuts this season to get UND to 100 -- Tucker Poolman (Winnipeg Jets), Christian Wolanin (Ottawa Senators) and Gersich. Wolanin and Gersich, junior classmates, signed pro contracts after UND’s season ended.

Gersich played on the third line with the first-place Capitals on Wednesday.

"A dream come true for sure," Gersich told the Washington Post.

UND's 100 NHL players (by year of debut)

1968-69 -- Dennis Hextall (New York Rangers); Bill LeCaine (Pittsburgh Penguins)

1972-73 -- Dave Hudson (New York Islanders); John Marks (Chicago Blackhawks)

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1973-74 -- Rick Wilson (Montreal Canadiens); Murray Wing (Detroit Red Wings)

1974-75 -- Earl Anderson (Boston Bruins); Mike Baumgartner (Kansas City Scouts)

1979-80 -- Dave Christian (Winnipeg Jets); Alan Hangsleben (Hartford Whalers)

1980-81 -- Marc Chorney (Pittsburgh Penguins); Kevin Maxwell (Minnesota North Stars); Doug Smail (Winnipeg Jets); Mickey Volcan (Hartford Whalers); Howard Walker (Washington Capitals)

1981-82 -- Mark Taylor (Philadelphia Flyers)

1982-83 -- Craig Ludwig (Montreal Canadiens); Troy Murray (Chicago Blackhawks); Phil Sykes (Los Angeles Kings)

1983-84 -- Dan Brennan (Los Angeles Kings); Dave Donnelly (Boston Bruins); James Patrick (New York Rangers); Gord Sherven (Edmonton Oilers), Dave Tippett (Hartford Whalers); Jon Casey (Minnesota North Stars)

1984-85 -- Jim Archibald (Minnesota North Stars); Perry Berezan (Calgary Flames); Rick Zombo (Detroit Red Wings); Darren Jensen (Philadelphia Flyers)

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1985-86 -- Brad Berry (Winnipeg Jets); Chris Jensen (New York Rangers)

1986-87 -- Jay Caufield (New York Rangers); Scott Sandelin (Montreal Canadiens)

1987-88 -- Tony Hrkac (St. Louis Blues); Bob Joyce (Boston Bruins), Ian Kidd (Vancouver Canucks)

1988-89 -- Ed Belfour (Chicago Blackhawks)

1989-90 -- Murray Baron (Philadelphia Flyers); Geoff Smith (Edmonton Oilers)

1990-91 -- Garry Valk (Vancouver Canucks)

1991-92 -- Russ Romaniuk (Winnipeg Jets)

1992-93 -- Dixon Ward (Vancouver Canucks)

1993-94 -- Justin Duberman (Pittsburgh Penguins); Neil Eisenhut (Vancouver Canucks); Dane Jackson (Vancouver Canucks); Greg Johnson (Detroit Red Wings); Jeff McLean (San Jose Sharks); Paxton Schulte (Quebec Nordiques)

1995-96 -- Jason Herter (New York Islanders); Landon Wilson (Colorado Avalanche)

1997-98 -- Brad Bombardir (New Jersey Devils); Ryan Johnson (Florida Panthers)

1998-99 -- Jason Blake (Los Angeles Kings); Matt Henderson (Nashville Predators)

2000-01 -- Mike Commodore (New Jersey Devils); Lee Goren (Boston Bruins); Travis Roche (Minnesota Wild); Jeff Ulmer (New York Rangers)

2002-03 -- Ryan Bayda (Carolina Hurricanes); Brad DeFauw (Carolina Hurricanes); Curtis Murphy (Minnesota Wild)

2003-04 -- David Hale (New Jersey Devils)

2005-06 -- Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils); Brandon Bochenski (Ottawa Senators); Matt Greene (Edmonton Oilers); Matt Jones (Phoenix Coyotes)

2006-07 -- Drew Stafford (Buffalo Sabres); Travis Zajac (New Jersey Devils)

2007-08 -- Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks); T.J. Oshie (St. Louis Blues); Brian Lee (Ottawa Senators); Brady Murray (Los Angeles Kings); Matt Smaby (Tampa Bay Lightning)

2008-09 -- Taylor Chorney (Edmonton Oilers); Chris Porter (St. Louis Blues)

2010-11 -- Chris VandeVelde (Edmonton Oilers); Matt Frattin (Toronto Maple Leafs)

2011-12 -- Joe Finley (Buffalo Sabres); Chay Genoway (Minnesota Wild); Brad Malone (Colorado Avalanche); Matt Watkins (Phoenix Coyotes)

2012-13 -- Brock Nelson (New York Islanders)

2013-14 -- Corban Knight (Calgary Flames)

2014-15 -- Rocco Grimaldi (Florida Panthers); Andrew MacWilliam (Toronto Maple Leafs)

2015-16 -- Aaron Dell (San Jose Sharks); Derek Forbort (Los Angeles Kings)

2016-17 -- Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Blackhawks); Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis Blues); Troy Stecher (Vancouver Canucks) Paul LaDue (Los Angeles Kings); Drake Caggiula (Edmonton Oilers); Carter Rowney (Pittsburgh Penguins); Dillon Simpson (Edmonton Oilers); Zane McIntyre (Boston Bruins); Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks); Tyson Jost (Colorado Avalanche)

2017-18 -- Tucker Poolman (Winnipeg Jets); Christian Wolanin (Ottawa Senators); Shane Gersich (Washington Capitals)

Related Topics: SHANE GERSICH
Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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