Fairbanks forward Hite makes NCAA DI commitment
May 25, 2018
By Danny Martin, News-Miner
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that left wing Caleb Hite committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, which plays in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
“It’s really exciting,” Hite said during a phone interview Thursday night. “My coaches and teammates helped me get to the point where I’m at right now. It’s really exciting to be a Nanook and be in a place I’m familiar with.”
The 21-year-old native of Grand Blanc, Michigan, and a top-10 scorer in this year’s North American Hockey League Robertson Cup Playoffs will join the Nanooks for the upcoming season, Erik Largen’s first as head coach.
Hite also is the second player from the 2017-18 Ice Dogs commit to the Nanooks. Fellow forward Samuel Ruffin committed during this past NAHL regular season.
Largen, whose hockey resume includes working as an Ice Dogs assistant coach, took Hite on a campus tour May 16, two days after the Robertson Cup concluded.
“He seemed really relatable, like he knew the game really well. I’m just excited to have him as a coach,” Hite said.
Hite said he is considering majoring in finance or business at UAF.
Hite came to the Ice Dogs after playing in 2016-17 with the Minnesota Magicians, a Midwest Division rival of Fairbanks.
Hite is also another great example of a North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) ladder of development success story. Hite played two seasons in the NAPHL for the Meijer AAA/Lansing Capitals 18U teams during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
During the 2015-16 season, he played in the NAPHL 18U NAPHL All-Star Game and the 2016 NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament. In 49 career NAPHL games, he recorded 37 points.
Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart described Hite as “almost a best-kept secret” for Fairbanks, which reached this year’s Robertson Cup national semifinals after winning the Midwest Division regular-season and postseason titles.
“His habits are great, his team skills are great,’’ Stewart said. “He doesn’t say much at all, but he’s somebody you never have to worry about. He’s going to find a way to play, no matter what.”
The 5’11/185 lbs. wing contributed five goals and two assists for seven points in 11 playoff games, ranking third for the Ice Dogs and 10th among NAHL postseason scorers. Hite was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the Midwest Division team.
Hite finished as the Ice Dogs’ sixth-leading scorer during the regular season, providing 19-21-40 totals while playing all 60 games.
“I started the year pretty hot but then I had a little lull where I had a scoring drought,’’ he said, “but I fought through that and I found a groove in early February.
“I thought I had a really good February, March and then April in the playoffs. ... We really wanted that (Robertson Cup) Championship, but it was still a good season.”