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Who Is the Best Hockey Player from South Dakota?

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Norm Van Brocklin, Jay Novacek, Adam Vinatieri, and others have done it in the NFL.

Dave Collins, Terry Francona, Jason Kubel, and others have done it in Major League Baseball.

Ray Ellefson, Eric Piatkowski, Mike Miller, and others have done it in the NBA.

All born in South Dakota. All played in the big leagues.

That leaves one of the ‘big four’ sports – hockey.

To date, not a single South Dakota-born player has reached the NHL. But all of that could be changing in the next couple of years.

On their list of the ‘Best Hockey Players from Each State’, the website Fansided.com chose Sioux Falls native Zeb Knutson as South Dakota’s top player on the ice.

The forward first made a name for himself playing on an Under 16 team in Kansas City, where he racked up 34 points in 59 games. Two years later, he jumped to 65 points in 43 games on an Under 18 team.

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From there it was back home to play for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League. In two seasons (2012-2014), Knutson tallied 53 goals and 99 points.

Those numbers helped secure him a scholarship to Minnesota State – Mankato, where he scored 14 points in his first two seasons a total he has already matched 16 games into his junior year.

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But Knutson isn’t the only South Dakota star on the rise. Fansided says to keep an eye on Knutson’s cousin Walker Duehr, who will be joining him with the Mavericks next season.

The website also likes 15-year-old Jack Olson, who played for Sioux Falls Flyers West and is currently on the roster of the Stampede’s Under 16 AAU Tier 1 Team.

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