June 29: Nanne has officially signed with Hershey, the team announced today. The former Rangers prospect whose career was nearly derailed by a serious heart condition will be a feel-good story in the AHL next season and maybe one day in the NHL.
March 17: The long and interesting story of Tyler Nanne has a new chapter, after his agent Neil Sheehy announced on Twitter that the collegiate defenseman has decided to sign an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears for the 2020-21 season.
Selected in the fifth round by the New York Rangers, it looked like his future would eventually be in that organization. Instead, he’ll suit up for the minor league affiliate of the Washington Capitals, more than six years after hearing his name called out at the 2014 draft. Following that selection, Nanne first went to the USHL where he played for the Sioux Falls Stampede and Madison Capitols, before heading to Ohio State University—not exactly the expected destination for a kid from Edina, and especially not for the son of a former Golden Gopher who worked as a scout for the Minnesota Wild.
Even though he tried to carve his own path at another powerhouse NCAA program, Nanne wouldn’t ever actually play a single game as a Buckeye. During the summer of 2015 the young hockey player would suffer multiple incidents including what he told Randy Johnson of the Star-Tribune was “essentially a heart attack” before being diagnosed with myocarditis. His season would come to an end before it even started, which led to a decision to transfer following his freshman year.
Back to Minnesota went Nanne, but he wouldn’t play during the 2016-17 campaign either thanks to the transfer rules making him ineligible for NCAA participation that season. That meant by the time he started his first year of college hockey in 2017, he hadn’t had any game experience for more than two years.
Now after three full seasons as a member of the Gophers, Nanne will leave to start his professional career. He spent the 2019-20 season as captain of the team, and scored a career-high 14 points in 35 games.
Though his rights will still technically be owned by the Rangers until the middle of August, it appears as though he will not be signing an entry-level deal with them. Instead, he’ll try to show he has what it takes to compete at the AHL level first. Nanne is already 24 (today!) but just getting to this level is impressive after such a long layoff in his prime development years.