NAHL Fairbanks Ice Dogs

College Commitments

2009-2010 Commitments


Player School League
Michael Juola Brown University ECACHL, D1
Justin Kirchhevel University of Alaska-Anchorage WCHA, D1
Joe Krause University of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA, D1
Jared Larson University of Minnesota WCHA, D1
Jared Linnell University of Alaska-Fairbanks CCHA, D1
George Michalke Air Force Academy Atlantic Hockey, D1
Josh Nelson Minnesota State University - Mankato WCHA, D1
Mark Pustin University of Alaska-Anchorage WCHA, D1
Mike Taffe University of Nebraska-Omaha WCHA, D1
Zach Tolkinen Quinnipiac University ECACHL, D1

The Ice Dog Team Is Dedicated to Players' Success

Ice Dogs initial road trip took side tours

Randy Zarnke/For the News-Miner

Published Sunday, October 18, 2009

FAIRBANKS - When the Fairbanks Ice Dogs opened the season with a 10-game road trip, they did a lot more than just play hockey.

After playing in the North American Hockey League Showcase in mid-September at Blaine, Minn., the Ice Dogs went on a showcase of their own.

While playing in Minnesota and Michigan, the team toured seven college campuses - five Division I and two Division III schools.

The Ice Dogs toured each campus, visited the varsity locker room and weight room, spoke with the college coaches and practiced on the school's home rink.

"Last year, we played very few games east of Washington, so college recruiters didn't get many opportunities to scout our players," Ice Dogs general manager Rob Proffitt said. "I felt that we needed to do something to put our guys in front of college coaches this season, so I began setting up this tour last spring.

"Not all of our players have spent time on a college campus. It was good for them to get this kind of exposure."

Todd Knott, an assistant coach at Minnesota State in Mankato, said the tour was a win-win situation.

"Half of recruiting is getting to meet players," he said. "With this visit, we had an entire team come to us. We were able to show them a day in the life of a college hockey player."

Rich Metro is an assistant at Lake Superior State where former former Ice Dog Eric Kraft is a freshman for the Lakers.

"Krafty enjoyed seeing some of his former teammates," Metro said. "I'm sure that he was able to tell them things about our program in a more effective manner than we as coaches could accomplish."

Ice Dogs players Will Aide and Josh Nelson deemed the tour a "great experience."

Having the college coaches watching the Ice Dogs practice made things "a little more intense" on the ice, they said.

"On the bus trips between schools, we talked about the pros and cons of each school," Ice Dogs forward Jared Larson said. "I don't think that anybody made any final decisions about where they want to go, but it sure gave us more information to help with that process."

Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge was brimming with enthusiasm after returning to Fairbanks.

"The tour went really good. The coaches were happy to accommodate us, and our players certainly benefited," he said. "We'll do it again, if the opportunity arises."

One of the goals of the program is to move players along to the collegiate level. The recent tour was designed to aid in that objective. The players and coaches agree that the tour was beneficial. Only time will tell if it leads to desired match-ups between college programs and departing Ice Dogs.



2008-2009 Commitments

Player School League
Paul Kirtland                                Ohio State University CCHA
Eric Kraft Lake Superior State University CCHA
Andrew McCabe University Of Nebraska-Omaha CCHA
Brandon Martel Ohio State University CCHA
Austin Block University of New Hampshire Hockey East
Phil Cook Minnesota State University WCHA
Michael Benedict University of Concordia-Moorhead MIAC
Drew Darwitz University of Alaska-Anchorage WCHA