It’s been a busy fall in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013-14 and continues to see a steady stream of commitments to Division I programs.
Thirteen players have made commitments since the league held its AJHL Showcase in late September in Spruce Grove, Alta. Three of those came in a 32-day span for the Olds Grizzlys, capped off by Nikolas Koberstein’s commitment to Alaska in late November.
“It’s fantastic,” Koberstein said this week of the exposure in the AJHL. “There’s always people watching you, every game. The showcase was crazy. You couldn’t really let it distract you because you wanted to play your best, but there were a ton of schools watching.”
A 17-year-old rookie in the AJHL, Koberstein has adjusted well, leading Grizzlys’ defensemen in scoring. Immediately after the showcase he was in contact with multiple schools, but a visit from Alaska head coach Dallas Ferguson clinched it for him.
“He showed a lot of interest, and my family and I really liked him,” said Koberstein, who hails from the rural town of Barrhead, north of Edmonton. “He’s a Western Canadian guy, a farm boy, just like me. When he came down to visit it just felt right.”
Two of Koberstein’s teammates in Olds, Spencer Dorowicz (Robert Morris) and Chris Gerrie (Michigan Tech) also made commitments recently. With a holiday break coming up, they can relax knowing their NCAA future.
For Koberstein, who attended a College Hockey Inc. summit in Spruce Grove two years ago, college hockey has always been a goal, even after being drafted in the seventh round by the WHL’s Regina Pats in 2011.
“I tried to keep all my options open,” he said. “Schooling has always been important to me, and it makes sense to pursue it while playing hockey at such a high level.”