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Three Fargo-Moorhead players headed to National Team Development Program

Garrett Lindberg, Andrew O'Neill and Lincoln Kuehne will play for the Michigan-based U.S. Under-17 Team this upcoming season.

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Moorhead's Garrett Lindberg carries the puck against Bemidji during a boys hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

GRAND FORKS โ€” Three players from Fargo-Moorhead have accepted invites to play for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.

Forward Andrew O'Neill of Fargo, defenseman Lincoln Kuehne of West Fargo and defenseman Garrett Lindberg of Moorhead will join the U.S. Under-17 Team in the fall.

The team, comprised of 2007-born players from across the country, was selected after a March tryout camp.

The National Team Development Program is based in Plymouth, Mich.

"I don't know if you'll ever see that again โ€” players from Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead," said Josh Bjorlin, the director of the Cullen Force Academy, where all three spent various amounts of time training.

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They'll join defenseman Sam Laurila of Moorhead in Plymouth. Laurila joined the U.S. Under-17 Team this season and will advance to the U.S. Under-18 Team next season.

Laurila, Lindberg and O'Neill are all high school sophomores. They will be eligible to receive college offers and make commitments beginning Aug. 1.

Kuehne is a high school freshman. He won't be able to receive college offers until Aug. 1, 2024.

"What an unbelievable lineup of players to see," Bjorlin said. "I think it's so cool for these younger players to be able to look at that and realize that path is available to them. They can dream as big as they want. It's not like, 'You're from North Dakota, you can't do this.' The proof is right in front of them. Having all these guys have so much success coming out of this area is proof."

Lindberg, who shoots right-handed, played for the Moorhead Spuds this season.

"There's zero panic in his game," Bjorlin said. "He's an elite puck mover. He's an absolute magician out there. He's a puck-moving general. He always makes the right plays. He's a super smart hockey player. I don't think you get the elite-of-the-elite skating or athleticism, but he makes up for it by thinking the game at a higher level with puck patience."

O'Neill is a right-handed shooting forward.

"He's one of those kids who has always been bigger and stronger than people growing up," Bjorlin said. "As he's gotten older, he keeps developing more and more into a role that's a great mix of a dynamic yet power forward. He's so powerful and he still has that finesse game to him where he can be a goal-scorer, he can make plays with the puck, and he can also play that full 200-foot game and use his size to his advantage."

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Kuehne is a right-handed shooting defenseman.

"He is an unbelievable skater," Bjorlin said. "It's rare to see someone on the blue line his size move that well. He works endlessly at his game. He continues to get better and better every day. He's one of those kids who is still learning the game. His ceiling is extremely high. We don't know for sure how high it is, because he keeps surprising us day in and day out."

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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