The North Iowa Outlaws have announced that second-year forward Alex Carlson has committed to Ohio State University (CCHA) for next season.
He is the 20th player who competed in January's NAHL Top Prospects Tournament to commit to a Division I program following the event.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be going to such a prestigious school to continue my hockey career and pursue my college degree,” said Carlson. “I have to thank (former Outlaws head) Coach (Jeff) Crouse and (former Outlaws head coach and current Alaska Avalanche head) Coach (Dave) Boitz for believing in me and developing me over the last two years.”
Carlson, one of the NAHL’s eight nominees for the Dave Tyler USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year award, totaled 24 goals for 57 points in 52 regular-season games this past season. He recorded three goals and an assist in eight postseason games.
The 20-year-old Carlson, who played at Farmington (Minn.) High School, was drafted by the Outlaws in 2006 but didn’t make the team. Crouse and Boitz advised him to play a year of Midget AAA hockey to polish his skills.
“We sent Alex to the Rocky Mountain Wranglers to mature and develop as a young player,” Crouse said. “We ended up tendering him the following year and he came back bigger, stronger, faster and more seasoned.”
“It was a really great year for me in Colorado,” Carlson said. “I was able to play more games and it made me more prepared to be an impact player in the NAHL the following year.”
“Alex Carlson is a perfect example of what hard work and dedication does for a player in our league,” said Boitz. “He wasn’t quite ready his first year, but he had faith in the coaching staff and did everything we told him to do and it obviously paid off.”
A great defensive center, Carlson will add depth to the Buckeyes’ roster, according to Crouse.
“I’m definitely looking forward to watching Alex next year,” said Crouse. “I know he’s going to work hard, on and off the ice.”
The 19 other NAHL players to commit to a school after the Top Prospects Tournament are: Bismarck Bobcats goaltender Matt Grogan (University of Connecticut); Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman Brandon Martell (Ohio State) and goaltender Phil Cook (Minnesota State-Mankato); Mahoning Valley Phantoms defensemen Carl Nielsen (Michigan Tech University) and Cullen Lundholm (Robert Morris University); Marquette Rangers forward Chad Pietila (Northern Michigan University) and Reed Rushing (Bowling Green State University); Motor City Machine forward Ryan Misiak (Mercyhurst College); North Iowa Outlaws forward Brandon Brodhag (Merrimack College); Owatonna Express defenseman Tim Smith; Springfield Jr. Blues forward Trent Frey (Mercyhurst); St. Louis Bandits forward Brendan Sheehan (Niagara University) defenseman Tyler Elbrecht (Minnesota State-Mankato) and goaltender Keith Kinkaid (Union); Topeka RoadRunners goaltender Bryce Merriam (RPI) and forward Steve Shafer (Canisius College); and Wenatchee Wild forwards Ducan McKellar (Bemidji State University) and Mitch Torrel (Air Force) and goaltender Mathieu Dugas (Bemidji State).