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Connor Kurth focused on USHL season rather than NHL Draft

Connor Kurth focused on USHL season rather than NHL Draft
Kurth committed to Minnesota almost immediately after his official visit to campus. (Photo Credit: Dubuque Fighting Saints and Stephen Gassman Photography)

DUBUQUE, Iowa (BVM) – The NHL Draft is slated to begin in early July and although Connor Kurth is one of the potential names that will be announced during the draft, he is staying focused on the present.

“This year I’m more focused on myself and the team and trying to win it this year,” Kurth said. “If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen, but definitely it’s been an exciting process this year even more talking with some teams.”

Last year in the 2021 draft, Kurth was not selected in his first year of eligibility. The forward was coming off his first season in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints and had made the USHL All-Rookie Second Team with 41 points in 52 games played.

Being passed over only motivated him to work harder during the offseason and his entire summer was spent training.

Kurth and the Saints are at the top of the USHL. (Photo Credit: Dubuque Fighting Saints and Stephen Gassman Photography)

“I dedicated basically my whole summer to getting better,” Kurth said. “I came in this year with the goal of being as good as I can trying to help our team win it all.”

He may have spent his whole summer training but the time spent in the gym and on the ice was not work for Kurth. Ever since he was a kid playing hockey on the homemade ice rink his dad would make in the yard, Kurth has loved the sport.

“It’s easier than you would think because I just love doing it,” Kurth said about putting so much time towards training.

His love for the game and dedication to improving his talents has put Kurth well on his way to accomplishing both of the goals he set for himself before the season. The second-year forward has already blown his numbers from last year out of the water.

Kurth is top five in the USHL in goals, assists and points and is second on the Saints in those categories behind forward Stephen Halliday. He and Halliday have Dubuque at the top of the USHL with a great chance to win a championship.

“From the jump, even training camp we’ve been talking about we got to win it this year and we got a great group,” Kurst said.

It was a belief but Kurth and the Saints have put in the work to get there and Kurth credits his time working with Halliday as one of the reasons for the jump he has taken in his second year in Dubuque.

“I think the experience, playing with Steven and just the work I put in this summer is a big factor with that,” Kurth said.

His attitude toward his future has also helped. The focus on the present and making the most of his time with the Saints has led him to maximizing the work he put in during the offseason.

“This year I’ve been trying not to think about it because it kind of messes with your head if you think about it,” Kurth said.

However, Kurth’s future is a complete mystery. Although the draft is uncertain, he does know he will be returning to his home state of Minnesota soon to play for the Gophers. He originally committed to Minnesota back in 2019 just hours after his official visit to campus .

For a Minnesota native who grew up watching the Gophers, the whole experience was not only a dream come true but an eye-opener to what Kurth could possibly do in the game of hockey.

“I think that became real when I went on my visit to the University of Minnesota,” Kurth said. “When I was younger, you know, everyone thinks they’re a good player so I had that thought that maybe, but when I went on my visit and I ultimately committed to Minnesota I was like, ‘OK here we go, now you got a real shot of doing something special in this game.’”

Kurth officially signed this past November on National Signing day to make it official that he would eventually play for his hometown team.

With college decided and his attention on the Saints, Kurth has Dubuque in the right spot with the season coming to an end. The summer and the draft can wait, Kurth will be ready for it, but for now, he wants to bring a trophy back to Dubuque.