Happy New Year, everyone. With the new year ringing in, a lot of us are thinking about where we are going in the next year, and what we are doing with our lives. While that's all fine and good, I'll take the time to find out where some of the players we used to watch every week have gone with their lives.
While the current 'Nooks get back to practice and start prepping for the second half of the season, here is a bit of an update on some of the past players who have moved on to other leagues around the world. But first, since we are talking about former Nanooks, a bit of unfortunate news.
Sophomore blueliner Justin Daigle has been formally dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules earlier this week. Justin had been battling an injury after an unfortunate spill in practice earlier this season. Losing Daigle shortens the defensive bench to 7 players. With Bryant Molle serving his senior season, and 2 freshmen defensemen in Justin Tateson and Nolan Kaiser slated to suit up next year, the 'Nooks will continue with 7 defensemen on the roster, 4 of them being seniors.
No details will publicly surface about Justin's dismissal due to student privacy rules, but if there was a lesson to be learned, hopefully he learned it. With the dismissal, Justin will forfeit the remainder of this year's NCAA eligibility. Now, he could sign with another school, but he would have to sit out from competition for an academic year, and be a full-time student at his new school during that time. So the earliest that he could make an active roster is the second half of next season. That is, if another school decides to pick him up, and he goes to school there for this upcoming semester.
But anyhow, on to some more players who once donned the Nanooks jersey. In no particular order...
Dion Knelsen, Forward
Sparta Warriors (Sarpsborg, Norway), GET-Ligaen
In Dion's first season with Sparta, he's already among the league leaders in point totals witha 18-21-39 scoring line in 28 games played. He is second among North American players in the league, trailing 27 year old USA native, and former Minnesota Gopher star Gino Guyer. Of Dion's 18 goals, 3 of them were scored last night in a 6-1 victory over the Rosenborg Elite, put the Warriors at 23-0-5 so far this season, and number one in the league. Oh yeah, remember that sick shootout goal to win the Goal Rush against RPI? Apparently that backhand toe drag works in Europe, too...
Tyler Eckford, Defense
New Jersey Devils, NHL
Tyler took a second stint in the show this year, logging four games with the New Jersey Devils in relief to from October 29th-November 3rd before returning to New Jersey's AHL affiliate Albany. The former Nanook All-American has logged 28 games with the Albany Devils thus far, with a 2-10-12 scoring line, 6th best on the Devils roster, 1st among defensemen. Tyler's last goal came in a 4-3 OT win over the Norfolk Admirals on December 17th.
Jordan Hendry, Defense
Chicago Blackhawks, NHL
Stanley Cup winner Jordan Hendry is still rolling with the Blackhawks. After some off-season moves that sent some of his former teammates out of Chicago, Jordan's contract was renewed for another year. Despite success at the defensive position, the Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville has rotated Hendry in on the Blackhawks' fourth offensive line, plugging him at right wing on numerous occasions. Jordan was a +1 in last nights 3-5 loss to San Jose. Jordan has logged one goal this season, in a tilt also with San Jose back on December 11th.
Aaron Lee, Forward
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, CHL
After graduation, Aaron Lee departed for the Central Hockey League and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Over the past three seasons, the Killer Bees alternate captain has logged 159 career games, with a 46-55-101 point total and a +7 overall rating. During his time there, he has played with other former Nanooks, such as Darcy Campbell, Ryan McLeod, and Wylie Rogers.
Chad Johnson, Goalie
Connecticut Whale, AHL
Chad has done as well as anyone could have hoped in the pros. Since my last update, "Dos Nueve" has helped lead the Connecticut Whale (formerly the Hartford Wolf Pack) back among the top of their conference. Chad has posted great numbers this season, with a .907 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average, along with a shutout. While his stats aren't the best in the league, they are quite impressive considering the style of offensive strategy they use with their defensemen. They take a lot of chances, which results in more odd-man rushes the other way. Chad has had to make 30+ saves in 10 games so far this season. Fortunately, they score more goals than they allow, which is kind of the point, right?
Kyle Greentree, Forward
Hershey Bears, AHL
Electing to forego his senior year at UAF, Kyle left after the 2006-2007 season signing an entry level free agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, being assigned to their AHL affilliate club, the Philadelphia Phantoms for the remainder of the 06-07 season. The following year, he would go on to score 24 goals and 48 points in 72 games played for the Phantoms. During which, he would get the call up to the show, playing two games with the Flyers for his NHL debut, however, he would remain absent from the stat sheet. After a season each at Quad City and Rockford, Kyle finds himself in Hershey, the Capitals AHL affiliate. Kyle sits second on the team in points, with a 15-16-31 scoring line in 31 games played, good for 18th best in the league. Number 37 also scored his 200th career AHL point this past week with his second goal in a 2 goal and 1 assist game against Binghamton on December 28th. And on an unrelated note, he still likes to make his presence known...
Yes, I know this isn't all the major players we've ever had, but its just a few that I've been following as of late. Want an update on someone else? Tell me who in the comments...