IceRays defenseman Froese makes NCAA DI commitment
June 20, 2014
By Rob Lippolis, Corpus Christi IceRays
Corpus Christi IceRays captain and veteran NAHL defenseman Kyle Froese will begin next season as a member of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks after committing to the NCAA Division I college this week.
“I'm very honored. But at the same time, very excited,” said Froese. “It's a great opportunity for me and my family and I can't wait to make the best of every opportunity that I have.”
Froese played three seasons in the North American Hockey League and came to Corpus Christi in a trade with the Soo Eagles following the 2012-13 season. This past year, Froese was a captain of the IceRays and scored more points this season than he did with Soo and Traverse City combined. In 55 games with the IceRays, the Michigan native put up six goals and 16 assists.
“This is an example of “good things happen to good people”. Kyle is truly one of the finest young men I’ve coached over my 30 years in the game,” said head coach John Becanic. “Kyle came to Corpus Christi with a goal of receiving a Division I scholarship. His determination to be the best possible version of himself was evident everyday while in Corpus Christi. He is proof that your commitment, passion and respect for the game will allow you to achieve special things. I have no doubt that he will continue to make the IceRay organization proud as a member of the Nanooks.”
After the season ended, Froese was drafted by the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League with still a year left to play junior hockey. That made the decision even tougher.
“It was a very tough decision,” Froese added. “I was fortunate enough to be able to be given a lot of advice and suggestions to think about from Coach Becanic when making the decision and I feel that I have made the right one. The coaches at UAF have a great amount of confidence in me and believe that I can come in and be ready to play and succeed at the college level. Along with having the privilege to play Division I hockey, everything about UAF seemed like a great fit for me. From the coaching staff, to the academic opportunities, to the teams style of play.”
Preparing for Division I hockey and the fans that support it began with his time in Corpus Christi.
“Corpus Christi is any junior hockey players dream situation,” said Froese. “From the front office staff, to the fans. It is a top notch organization. Pat Dunn is by far the most dedicated and hardworking general manager there is and is willing to do more than anything he can to make every players time in Corpus Christi the best junior experience they can possibly have. Coach Becanic and his coaching staff is one of the most prominent reasons I was fortunate enough to receive a Division I scholarship. The way that Coach Becanic uses off ice video analysis and applies it to the team, along with team building and fundamentally strong practices gives every player the opportunity to be the best version of himself that he can be, every day. Coach Paluseo is one of the most knowledgeable strength and conditioning coaches there is and knows how to prepare players to improve themselves during the season. I really am excited to make a positive impact on the ice, along with in the classroom, and in the community. The UAF hockey team is known for being academically strong every year and I look forward to continuing that tradition along with being successful on the ice as well.”
This past year, the Nanooks finished third in the WCHA standings just behind Ferris State and Minnesota State while beating out big name schools such as Michigan Tech, Bowling Green, and their rival, Alaska-Anchorage.
“Today is a bittersweet day for the IceRays organization, needless to say that losing Kyle at this time of the year is devastating,” said general manager Pat Dunn. “Having said that, that’s the business we are in. We are so happy for Kyle as it couldn’t happen to a better guy. Not only was he a great hockey player but he is a class act. We are proud of him and wish him the best moving forward with his hockey career. Alaska-Fairbanks will not be disappointed with their new recruit. His flawless skating obviously is his biggest asset, any player that skates as smooth as Kyle obviously has some tremendous upside. This is certainly not the last time we hear about this guy. He definitely has a bright future as he is one of the most focused and mature young men that has worn the IceRays uniform. From all of us in the IceRays organization, we want to wish him good luck!”
This year, Froese was selected and competed in the 2014 North American Hockey League Top Prospects Tournament.