Fairbanks defenseman Mehnert makes NCAA DI commitment
January 15, 2016
By Danny Martin, News-Miner
Alex Mehnert plans to become a pilot.
On Thursday afternoon, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and NAHL defenseman committed to a college which can help aid his aspirate — the Air Force Academy.
The 18-year-old native of Moorhead, Minnesota, and the Ice Dogs’ fifth-leading scorer and top scoring defenseman, is scheduled to join the Falcons, of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Hockey, for the 2017-18 season.
“I love the school and I’ve always wanted to be a pilot,” Mehnert said by cellphone on Thursday. “It can help me further my career and dreams of doing that.”
Mehnert made a campus visit in December to the Air Force Academy, located near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“Academically, it’s a very good school and the coaching staff there is very supportive. Overall it’s just a very good fit for me,” said Mehnert, who plans to major in international business.
In his first season with the Ice Dogs, of the North American Hockey League, Mehnert has contributed five goals and 20 assists for 25 points in 34 games. He also has been a key player on special teams for Fairbanks, which faces the Springfield Jr. Blues, of Illinois, at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday in the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
“They (Air Force coaches) like the way he’s been able to handle himself in his first year of junior hockey,’’ said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart, “and that he’s been able to contribute as a rookie, which is a hard thing to do in this league.”
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound blueliner is the fourth Ice Dogs player this season to commit to a Division I program.
Fellow defenseman Aaron McPheters committed to the University of Alaska Anchorage, a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association; goaltender Gavin Nieto committed to Brown University, of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference; and left wing Logan Coomes committed to Merrimack College, of Hockey East.