FAIRBANKS—John Teets talked twice last week with Mike Corbett, the head hockey coach for the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
The second conversation sealed the Ice Dogs defenseman’s decision to verbally commit to the NCAA Division I program and member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Teets, a former Hutchison High School skater and first-year Ice Dogs defenseman, first spoke with Corbett last Monday and they resumed their conversation last Tuesday.
“He’s a really upfront guy who talks to you like it is,’’ Teets said after the Ice Dogs practice Wednesday morning at the Big Dipper Ice Arena. “He’s going to be honest with you, and if you don’t like that, that’s too bad.
“I like that in a coach,’’ Teets added.
Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said he thinks that the Corbett and his coaches will like what the 6-foot-3, 200-pound blueliner brings to the Chargers, who have gone from three wins for all of last season to six wins so far this season.
“He’s really developed and come into his own, especially in the last month and a half,’’ Stewart said Wednesday. “You can see that he’s producing and now he’s got an opportunity for himself to play Division I hockey because of it.”
Teets, 20, has contributed three goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 39 games for the Ice Dogs. Half of his points come from eight assists during power plays, and one of his goals occurred during a man-advantage situation.
Teets typically plays against a top forward on the opposing team but he can contribute offensively.
“I’ve contributed offensively on the power play, chipping in a few points,’’ he said, “but for me, as long as I’m not getting scored on, I’m usually doing my job.
“I’m moving the puck up the boards to the skilled forwards we have, and the more they have the puck the better,’’ he added.
Teets graduated through the BEST program of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.
Following his sophomore year at Hutchison, Teets went to the Pikes Peak Miners AAA 16U program in Colorado and later to the Russell Stover AAA U18 program in Kansas.
He started this season with Fort McMurray in the Alberta Junior Hockey League but was later traded. He contacted the Ice Dogs administration about playing for his hometown’s North American Hockey League program.
“They made me earn my ice time, and I’ve done it,’’ Teets said. “I’ve really developed in the time I’ve been here and Stew (Stewart) and Pauly (Paul Kirtland, Ice Dogs assistant coach) have been great coaches to help me out.”
Teets becomes the sixth player on this season’s Ice Dogs roster who committed to a WCHA program. The others are fellow Alabama-Huntsville commit Adam Wilcox, and Hans Gorowsky (Lake Superior State), Chandler Madry (Minnesota State), Ethan Somoza (Bemidji State) and Jacob Hetz (Ferris State).
“It should be exciting because you’re probably going to be playing against someone (current or former Ice Dogs) every weekend,’’ Teets said.
Other former Ice Dogs on WCHA rosters this season are Nick Hinz, Justin Woods, Tayler Munson, Jared Larson Alec Hajdukovich and Jared Linnell with the Alaska Nanooks; and Pete Spratte, Garret Clement and Jayson Angus with Lake Superior State.
Former Ice Dog Wyatt Ege is playing this season for Dubuque (Iowa) in the United States Hockey League, but he’s headed to WCHA member Alaska Anchorage next season.