By Danny Martin, Fairbanks News-Miner
Garret Clemment’s first visit to Lake Superior State University was with the rest of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
He was recently at the school in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for an official campus visit. The next time he goes there will be as a student-athlete.
The second-year Ice Dogs left wing announced Tuesday that he has committed to Lake Superior State, which is a Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival of the Alaska Nanooks. The rivalry continues next season when the NCAA Division I teams join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Clemment currently leads the Ice Dogs in scoring with 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 24 games played. In those 24 games, the Ice Dogs have fashioned an 18-6-0 record good for 36 points, which is good for 1st place in the NAHL's West Division.
The Nanooks, said Clemment, did express interest in him but he was drawn to Lake Superior State, where he also plans to pursue a degree in business.
Clemment was introduced to Lake Superior State when he and the Ice Dogs were in Sault Ste. Marie for a North American Hockey League exhibition series against the Soo Eagles in early September.
Sault Ste. Marie, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and next door to the Canadian province of Ontario, is the hometown of Ice Dogs general manager Rob Proffitt, and this season’s Lake Superior roster includes freshman defenseman and former Ice Dog Pete Spratte.
“I like the small-town atmosphere. The entire town is a hockey town, just like Fairbanks,’’ Clemment, during a telephone interview Tuesday night, said of Sault. Ste. Marie.
“The coaches were very friendly and they were all very welcoming,’’ Clemment continued. “They showed us the lockerrooms and we got to watch a practice. There was nothing I disliked; I just had a blast there.”