After the most disappointing season of his young hockey career, 19-year-old Selkirk Steelers star, Hudson Friesen, has accepted an athletic scholarship to play hockey at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
“We started talking last May,” said Friesen, “so the last time we talked I couldn’t say anything because I hadn’t accepted anything yet. But I’ll start next year. I’m pretty excited about this opportunity.”
This past season Friesen had 25 goals and 30 assists in 55 games with the Steelers. But he was also part of a team that collapsed down the stretch. Selkirk lost 15 of its final 16 games and missed the playoffs on the last day. For Friesen it wasn’t any fun.
“The last month and a half was a really tough stretch,” Friesen admitted. “I don’t know what happened. We got in a rut and we just couldn’t get out of it. It was the most frustrating period I’ve ever had playing hockey. We never got the bounces. We just didn’t have any luck at all. We played a lot of games in that stretch where we dominated teams and for whatever reason, we just couldn’t win. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Friesen has an opportunity to leave all that behind. He’ll go to Anchorage with a clean slate and is looking forward to being a business major as well as a hockey player. Last year, in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves finished with a record of 2-20, last in the 12-team league. Friesen will definitely be given a chance to compete for a position.
“I’m not totally sure what’s going to happen and I kind of like that,” he said. “I’ve been told I’ll be given every opportunity to show them what I can do. I just have to go up there and play hard and impress the coaches and earn my ice time. I’ve been told I’ll get an opportunity to play some decent minutes. I’m excited about it.”
He’s certainly not concerned about the weather even though the average winter temperature is between minus-15 and minus-40.
“I’m from Manitoba,” he said with a laugh. “It can’t be any worse than it is here.”