THUNDER BAY, Ont. – As the Superior International Junior Hockey League heads into next week’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup in Dryden, SIJHL member clubs are seeing a number of their players from the 2017-18 season having committed to collegiate and university programs in the fall to further their education and continue playing the game in both Canada and the U.S.
Here’s an update on those commitments as of April 25:
ENGLISH RIVER MINERS
Terix Fischer-Kobes, (D) Portage College (ACAC)
Heading to Portage College in Lac La Biche, Alta., is Miners’ blueliner Fischer-Kobes.
An assistant captain with English River, the now 21-year-old from Lloydminster, Sask., suited up in 102 regular season games for the Miners where contributed six markers and 38 assists.
In 13 postseason outings, Fischer-Kobes supplied four points, all assists.
The Miners describe the defenceman as a humble leader on and off the ice for two seasons where he put the team before himself. He was also listed as a versatile player that played both forward and defence and helped build the program with his skill set. Off the ice he organized many community events and enjoyed giving back and caring for others.
“I am incredibly proud of Fischer-Kobes and have no doubt that he will represent Portage College with the same class that he represented with the Miners for the past two seasons,” stated head coach and GM Derek Sweet-Coulter.
The Voyageurs compete in the highly competitive Alberta College Athletic Conference.
Mark Ziobro, (F) Portage College (ACAC)
Joining Fischer-Kobes at Portage College is teammate Mark Ziobro.
He’s described as a gritty forward that displays a great amount of courage and passion on the ice along with being a great teammate and leader who did whatever it took for his teammates to have success.
“Mark has great character and leadership skills,” surmised Sweet-Coulter. “He will be an important asset to his new hockey team and school.”
Ziobro wrapped up his Jr. A career seeing action in 106 league contests, that featured him helping the Dryden GM Ice Dogs win the Bill Salonen Cup last season.
The 21-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., tallied 12 times and dished out 19 assists. He also dressed for a dozen playoff outings.
Previous Miners’ commitments
Michael Lenko, (G) Simon Fraser (BCIHL)
FORT FRANCES LAKERS
Jack Bernie, (F) Southern Maine (NEHC)
A three-year SIJHL veteran, Bernie wrapped up his Jr. A tenure with the Lakers after competing in 162 league contests that saw the 20-year-old Kenora, Ont., product amass 86 points on 43 goals and as many assists.
Playoff action saw him dress in 20 games where he tallied three times and added a trio of helpers.
That included the 2015-16 campaign where he was a member of the Fort Frances side that won the Bill Salonen Cup.
“We thank Jack for his three years with our organization,” said Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“From his hard work and dedication, to improving his development as a person, in his academics and on the ice has paid off and he now moves on to reach further goals,” added Strachan.
“Jack was a leader for our team on and off the ice and we wish him the best of luck at Southern Maine.”
The University of Southern Maine Huskies play out of the NCAA D-III New England Hockey Conference.
Bernie will be joining former Fort Frances teammate Maverick Lynes, who is completing his fresh year at the Gorham, Maine-based school.
THIEF RIVER FALLS NORSKIES
Connor Schuster, (F/D) Minot State (ACHA)
Heading home to attend school at Minot State University in North Dakota and play for the Beavers’ hockey program is Schuster.
The 20-year-old from Minot, N.D., played two seasons in Thief River Falls under head coach Cole Workman where he dressed for 100 games and chipped in with career single-season highs in goals, assists and points in 2017-18 with seven, nine and 16 respectively helping the Norskies earn a franchise-record 86 points along with a SIJHL-best 41 victories.
“Connor has done a tremendous job improving and fine-tuning his game the past couple of seasons in Thief River Falls,” said Minot State head coach Wade Regier.
“This past season, Connor really developed himself in to an extremely versatile player,” added Regier. “His ability to play both forward and defense will be a huge asset for us next year.”
Minot State are members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Jared Pedersen, (F) St. Olaf (MIAC)
The 20-year-old Pedersen, who is from Darwin, Minn., had a solid 2017-18 campaign for the Norskies as he tallied 20 times and doled out 32 assists for 52 points in 55 games.
He chipped in with another goal in the playoffs for Thief River Falls.
The crafty Norskies’ forward will head to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where he will attend and skate for the Oles’ men’s hockey program.
St. Olaf is a member of the 10-school Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Parker Simonson, (F) Concordia College (MIAC)
One of four Thief River Falls players who have committed to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., Simonson is coming off a stellar campaign with the Norskies in 2017-18.
A finalist for SIJHL MVP, Simonson was named a league CCM Hockey first team all-star at forward.
His on-ice efforts saw the 20-year-old from Bismarck, N.D., lead his team and finish second overall in offensive production with 68 points.
Simonson was also second in the league in goals scored with 37 as well in game-winning markers with seven.
He also added 31 assists and 20 power play points.
At Concordia, the Cobbers compete in the NCAA D-III MIAC.
Logan Jackson, (D) Concordia College (MIAC)
Another member of the Norskies committed to Concordia College is team captain Jackson.
In his two-year SIJHL run, the 20-year-old from Riverdale, Utah, was named a league second team all-star as he anchored the club’s defensive corps.
Jackson bolstered his team’s efforts in allowing the fewest goals against in the league this season at 133 and also chipped in 13 points offensively on three goals and 10 helpers.
In 100 SIJHL outings, he scored eight times and helped set-up 18 others while bolstering Thief River Falls’ back end.
Michael Johnson, (F) Concordia College (MIAC)
Johnson was over a point-per-game player for Thief River Falls in 2017-18.
In 54 games played, the 20-year-old produced 64 points for his hometown Norskies on a dozen tallies and a league-high 52 assists. He also joined Simonson with 20 power play points.
“Michael is a very special player who is going to be a great asset for Coach Howe at Concordia College,” stated Norskies bench boss Cole Workman.
“He has the right attitude, mindset and work ethic to be a successful NCAA Student Athlete at Concordia College. I am excited to see how he translates into the College Hockey game,” added Workman.
He too is off to Concordia College of the MIAC.
Mitchel Soderberg, (F) Concordia College (MIAC)
A strong two-way season saw him tabbed as the SIJHL’s Best Defensive Forward in 2017-18.
Earning an honourable mention all-star nod at forward, also produced offensively as well for Thief River Falls as the 20-year-old from Grand Forks, N.D., played at a point-per-game pace with 54 in as many contests by scoring 19 times and assisting on 35 others to finish second on the squad in scoring.
Seeing action in 110 SIJHL games, Soderberg registered 93 points, including 39 goals as he concludes his Jr. A career and makes the move up the ladder to NCAA D-III Concordia of the MIAC.
“I am beyond thrilled to see Mitchell have the opportunity to play collegiate hockey,” stated Norskies head coach Workman.
“He has continuously impressed myself and our staff since he first made the Thief River Falls Norskies. I am certain he is going to surprise his new staff in the four years he attends Concordia.”
Further SIJHL collegiate commitments will be announced throughout the course of the off-season.