Hermantown’s Aaron Pionk selected by Wild, one of four Bulldogs drafted into NHL

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On Thursday Hermantown native Aaron Pionk would be selected by the Minnesota Wild 149th overall in the 2023 NHL Draft held in Nashville.

Pionk played three seasons for Hermantown from 2018-2021 amassing 83 total points while earning two trips to state. He then went on to skate for the Cloquet based Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) where he transitioned from a forward to a defenseman. He spent the 2022-2023 season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL) where he tallied 38 points.

Aaron’s oldest brother Neal currently skates for the Winnipeg Jets, and the middle Pionk brother Nate is with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL. Their father Scott Pionk has been tabbed to lead the new Stella Maris Academy hockey program in Duluth set to begin in the 2023-2024 season.

This marked Aaron’s final year of draft eligibility. His fifth round selection made him the fourth University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) men’s hockey commit to be taken in this year’s draft.

The first Bulldog commit picked was goalie Adam Gajan 35th overall in the second round by the Chicago Blackhawks. Warroad native, and 2023 Mr. Hockey winner, forward Jayson Shaugabay was selected 115th in the fourth round by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then center Matthew Perkins was taken 119th overall in the fourth round by the Vancouver Canucks.