From Minnesota State to Minnesota Wild
Defenseman Zach Palmquist moved from high school hockey in Minnesota to junior hockey in Iowa and eventually back to his home state for four years of NCAA hockey. His career is on a path to yo-yo across the Hawkeye-Gopher border one more time with Monday’s announcement by the Minnesota Wild that Palmquist has signed an NHL contract and will complete this season with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
Palmquist joined the Waterloo Black Hawks during the closing weeks of the 2008/09 season, then spent the following two campaigns in the United States Hockey League. In the course of 124 regular season appearances for the Hawks, the South St. Paul native scored 13 goals and recorded 44 assists. In 2009/10, his 36 points tied for seventh among league defensemen.
Over the weekend, the now-24-year-old completed his college career at Minnesota State-Mankato, where he served as an alternate captain and tied for fourth on the team in scoring this season with 29 points in 40 games. Palmquist did not miss a game during his four years with the Mavericks, appearing in a school record 160 consecutive contests and recording 96 points (25 goals, 71 assists). His offensive total ties for first among the program’s defenseman in the Division I-era (1996-97 to present). Palmquist was named to the All-WCHA First Team in both 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The Minnesota Wild are among only three NHL teams who have neither previously selected a Waterloo Black Hawk during the league draft nor had a former Hawk appear for their franchise at the NHL level following a trade or free agent signing.
Palmquist becomes the third former Black Hawk to ink an NHL contract since NCAA regular season play was completed earlier this month, joining Brandon Montour (University of Massachusetts, Anaheim Ducks) and Vince Hinostroza (Notre Dame, Chicago Blackhawks).
During his time in Waterloo, Palmquist skated with Hinostroza in 2010/11. He was also on the Hawks’ roster concurrently with current NHL’ers Craig Smith (Nashville Predators) and J.T. Brown (Tampa Bay Lightning). Palmquist’s teammate in both Waterloo and Mankato, Eriah Hayes, started the season with the San Jose Sharks and is currently with that club’s AHL affiliate in Worcester, Massachusetts.