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The Minnesota Wilderness today announced it has hired a new general manager and assistant GM for its Cloquet-based North American Hockey League (NAHL) squad. 

Brandon Ferns has been brought in to be the team’s new GM. The 27-year-old from Sartell, MN, has been involved in junior hockey as either a scout or in team management for the last seven seasons. Ferns has most recently served as an assistant GM with the Chippewa Steel over the last two seasons. He also spent 2023-24 as the director of player procurement for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, assistant coach at Shakopee High School and head coach of the Minnesota Sharks 15U AAA of the Minnesota Bantam Elite League.

Joining him as an assistant in managing the NAHL team will be Steve Williams. Williams also comes from the Chippewa Steel organization, where he also served as an assistant GM in 2023-24. Williams spent three seasons with the Steel franchise, with his first two being in the scouting office, including being the director of scouting in 2022-23. A 36-year-old from Sparta, NJ, Williams began his off-ice career in junior hockey in 2020 as a scout for the St. Cloud Norsemen.

During their time with the Steel, Ferns and Williams were involved in the drafting and development of goaltender Adam Gajan, who is headed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was drafted in 2023 by the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

In addition, in 2022-23, with Ferns in his first season as Chippewa’s assistant GM and Williams leading the scouting staff, the Steel qualified for the Robertson Cup playoffs for the first time since the franchise was established in Chippewa Falls, WI, in 2019.

Ferns takes over the GM position from David Boitz, who has been promoted to the organization’s president of operations. After 10 seasons as the Wilderness GM, he will now oversee the business operations of the NAHL squad and the newly acquired NA3HL Wilderness team.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work for such a great organization and want to thank Barry and Brenda [Bohman (Wilderness co-owners)], and Dave,” said Ferns. “Being able to continue to work with Steve and have one of the best young coaches in the game in Colten St. Clair made this opportunity extremely appealing when you combine it with the upper management of the Minnesota Wilderness organization. I really like the group of returning players and tenders the team has, and I am looking forward to the NAHL draft here in two weeks to continue to build for the 24/25 season. Lastly, as someone who attended game 3 of the playoff series, I saw how great the Wilderness fans are, and I am dedicated to giving them more playoff games each year going forward.”

The NAHL draft will be held June 12. The Wilderness main try-out camp is set for July 14-18 in Cloquet.