Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nanook Rookie Recruit Write Up #1 - Cody Kunyk (AJHL)

So, I decided to break these posts up and write about one recruit at a time. It will be better than last year, since I'm not limiting myself to a paragraph or two on each player and I can do the research and due diligence for each player and get more in depth with each of them.

The first player in my sights is a star-studded recruit, Sherwood Park forward Cody Kunyk (Coon-ick) of the AJHL.

Over the past three seasons with Sherwood Park, Kunyk has shown excellent progression. In his first season, Cody registered 24 points, accumulating 13 goals and 11 assists for the crusaders in 51 games during the 2007-2008 season (0.47 points per game). The following year, he more than doubled his point totals, netting 58 points with 25 goals, 33 assists, averaging 0.95 points per game.

This year, Kunyk has turned on the after burners. As an alternate captain with the Crusaders, Kunyk amassed 87 points between 44 goals and 43 assists, putting him in 5th place in the AJHL in scoring, and putting him in place to garner the AJHL MVP honor.

On Friday, May 7th, Kunyk was presented with the RBC Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year award as the top Junior A player in all of Canada. An honor which current NHL skaters such as Dany Heatley (San Jose), Paul Kariya (St. Louis), Mike Comrie (Edmonton), and Jeff Tambellini (New York Islanders) have under their belts from their Canadian Junior A past. Kunyk was the AJHL nominee for the award, among five other nominees from each other Junior A conference. In addition to all of these accolades, Cody was named to the World Junior A Challenge All-star team. Kunyk will join the Nanooks alongside his former teammate Nik Yaremchuk in the fall.

Having seen just clips of Cody play, I'm pretty excited to see him in a Nanooks uniform. He seems to have great vision, great puck handling, and a great feel for the play that puts him in the right place at the right time. He's obviously got a great scoring sense, and I think he is going to be a great supplement for the team with the loss of Dion Knelsen. At 6' 0" 180lbs, he fits the average Nanook mold very nicely. He doesn't take many penalties (just 33 minutes in 51 games), and as he took the hockey academy route since the 5th grade, he knows how to keep a balance of hockey and schooling. He plans to major in business for UAF.

Last season, the Nanooks, while dramatically improved from the season before it, showed some trouble scoring through the middle of the season. With two 1.5+ point per game scorers coming in, and a number of established scorers already on the team, their vow of improvement next season is already looking good. With their first taste of the NCAA tournament--despite missing the trip to the Joe-- its apparent that the motivation for the team is going to be aimed much higher. Kunyk, along with other the other incoming freshmen, and the current lineup of Nanooks will take aim at a re-surging run at the CCHA NCAA tournaments.


mmf said...

We’ll miss our seniors, but ya gotta believe that with a solid core returning and newcomers Kunyk, Beck, Slemp, Quinn, and Henderson, that we have raised the bar a notch.

Anxious to see your write up on the others. Keep up the good work.

Jason said...

Not just that but I think this team got its first taste of real success by making the NCAA tourney, and they want more. Between a solid returning core and what sounds like some good newcomers, plus Greenham with a full season under his belt, we might have a pretty fun season next year.

Can't wait for the 2010/11 schedule to be released; hopefully it won't include a January murderers row like last season.