FAIRBANKS—Nik Yaremchuk didn’t enjoy sitting out six games for the Alaska Nanooks hockey team earlier this season because of a leg injury. The senior right wing made the most of his idle time.
“For my whole career, I had not missed a game, but I got to see the game from a fan’s perspective,” Yaremchuk said during a telephone interview Wednesday. “I learned a couple of things, such as how much time you have on the ice.”
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound native of St. Albert, Alberta, also makes the most of his time when he’s on the ice.
Alaska head coach Dallas Ferguson describes Yaremchuk as a “utility guy who plays in all situations” for the Nanooks, who play host to the Bowling Green State Falcons of Ohio in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Carlson Center.
The quick senior can work on even strength scenarios, penalty killing and power plays for the sixth-place Nanooks (4-6-2-0 CCHA, 6-7-3 overall).
“He’s working hard to get back to 100 percent from his injury,” Ferguson said by phone Wednesday. “His consistency and his predictability have been his assets for us every year.”
Yaremchuk has contributed two goals and three assists for five points in 10 games this season and the Bowling Green series will put him at 125 career games when the weekend ends.
The 24-year-old business management he takes pride in having a utility role in an NCAA Division I hockey program.
“I kind of pride myself on the defensive side more than the offensive side,” Yaremchuk said. “When the offense comes, I love playing it. Coach Ferguson can throw me on any line he wants and I’m happy to play with any type of player.”
Yaremchuk likes to be in the vicinity of the low slot when it comes to scoring.
“He’s been most effective in scoring goals around the net,” Ferguson said. “He’s had big goals for us and hard-working goals on second and third opportunities.”
The hard work down low has led to 67 career points for Yaremchuk from 27 goals and 40 assists.
“In college hockey, it’s so hard to get scoring chances and those abilities you work on in practice are so much valuable in a game,’’ said Yaremchuk. “You get so few chances in college hockey, and when you get your chances you’ve got to bury the puck.”
The Nanooks’ annual Teddy Bear Toss takes place during the first intermission of Saturday’s game. All stuff animals collected will be donated to Santa’s Clearing House.
Following the game, there will be a skate with the Nanooks and a cookie social. Face-Off Club members are asked to bring cookies, brownies and other goodies to share in disposable containers.
•Ferguson and Bowling Green’s Chris Bergeron will speak during the coaches luncheon at noon Friday in the Pioneer Room of the Carlson Center.
The cost is $15 per person and the menu will be pasta with sausage, marinara sauce and garlic bread.
The plans for the Carlson Center Renovation Phase II will be on display during the luncheon. The $4.2-million project, which includes extensive remodeling of the arena’s lockerrooms, is up for bids, and the bids openings are scheduled for Dec.13.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.