Warroad forward Carson Pilgrim commits to UND

Pilgrim finished tied for second in the state with 52 goals in 2022-23. He led all juniors with 92 points.

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Warroad forward Carson Pilgrim (18) reaches to tip a flying puck past Green Wave goaltender Chase Mero in the first period of a boys hockey game at the East Grand Forks Civic Center on Monday, February 6, 2023.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Carson Pilgrim grew up in Warroad. His family sometimes traveled to Grand Forks to attend UND hockey games.

Pilgrim particularly enjoyed watching those from his hometown who went on to be college hockey stars.

"I was a really big fan when I was younger, watching T.J. Oshie and Brock Nelson," Pilgrim said. "We'd go to games every now and then. I remember watching them and dreaming of playing there. It finally happened. It's something special."

Pilgrim will be the first Warroad player since Nelson and Oshie — both of whom are now in the midst of lengthy NHL careers — to play at UND.

The 5-foot-10 center, who piled up 52 goals and 92 points as a high school junior, verbally committed to UND on Sunday afternoon.


"It's a really nice facility," Pilgrim said. "They have really nice coaches. I got along with them well. They treated me and my family well, which is a huge part in it. I love their culture, especially coming from Warroad. It just felt like it was the best fit for me."

Pilgrim made recruiting visits to UND and Minnesota Duluth, where his prep linemate, Jayson Shaugabay, is headed.

"I thought about it over the weekend," Pilgrim said. "I talked it over with my family and made the decision (Sunday)."

Pilgrim had a solid sophomore season in 2021-22, tallying 31 points in 31 games for the Warriors. But he had a breakout junior year, driving college interest.

His 52 goals and 92 points led all juniors in the state of Minnesota.

The Warriors went 29-1-1. Their lone loss came in the state championship game in double overtime.

"The season was really special," Pilgrim said. "We had some guys get huge accomplishments with Jayson getting Mr. Hockey, Hampton Slukynsky getting the Frank Brimsek Award and Jayson passing T.J. Oshie in most points (in a Warroad career). Some of the games were really special. The Hermantown game. . . it was nice getting a little revenge from last year. Obviously, we wanted to go undefeated all year, but it just didn't play out right. Other than that, the season was something special and one to remember."

Pilgrim was at his best in big games.


He scored two goals and tallied three points in the Section 8A title game against East Grand Forks Senior High, earning a trip back to the state tournament.

He also had two hat tricks in the state tournament — one in a quarterfinal victory over St. Cloud Cathedral and another in the state championship against Mahtomedi. His recruitment picked up after state.

"I had a couple of colleges contact me before the state tournament," Pilgrim said. "But it really started turning up during and after the state tournament."

Since the high school season ended, the U.S. Under-17 Team has picked up Pilgrim to play for three games. He tallied two assists in those games.

At the moment, Pilgrim is planning to take the same development path as a couple of his old Warroad teammates, Shaugabay and Clarkson-bound Daimon Gardner, by playing his senior season at Warroad, while joining a junior hockey team before and after the prep season.

No United States Hockey League team currently holds Pilgrim's rights. He will likely be a high pick in the USHL Phase II Draft on May 3.

His arrival date at UND is up in the air and depends on his development.


Minnesota's top-scoring juniors

During 2022-23 season
92 points — Carson Pilgrim, Warroad
86 points — Noah Urness, Roseau
81 points — Louie Wehmann, Providence Academy
72 points — Wyatt Farrell, La Crescent-Hokah

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
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