Alaska forward Andy Taranto became the first Nanook to be honored as the CCM/CCHA Rookie of the Year. Taranto led all rookies in conference scoring with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points. Taranto also finished the CCHA regular season ranked third in the nation in rookie scoring with a 16-23-39 line.
Alaska senior forward Dion Knelsen was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Knelsen, a business administration major, holds a 3.984 grade-point average and was named to the chancellor’s list all seven semesters at Alaska. The 21-year-old also finished tied for eighth in the CCHA in scoring with 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points.[CCHA.com]
Knelsen also received the Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award as the league’s top citizen, based on his contributions off the ice, as well as on, to his team, his program, his school and his community. The Three Hills, Alberta, native has volunteered his time to a multitude of causes, including "Nooks for Books" (a program where Nanook student-athletes read to children at local elementary schools), Sports Night at the Denali Center (an assisted living home for senior citizens in Fairbanks), and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Knelsen also sponsors a child in the Dominican Republic and is co-sponsor with his teammates for another child there.
Congrats to those guys, as well as to Scott Greenham, who nabbed the Perani Cup for Alaska, as the Nanooks highest cumulative "3 stars" points totals. Awesome guys! Well done!!