TRAVERSE CITY — Kyle Froese spent nearly two weeks in Alaska last October when the Corpus Christi IceRays played North American Hockey League rivals Fairbanks and Kenai River.
“It was beautiful, absolutely amazing,” the Traverse City native said.
In two months, the soon to be 20-year-old will be calling Fairbanks home. Froese, a captain for Corpus Christi last season, has committed to play for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks this season. The Division 1 school is in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
“I got the offer last Friday (June 13),” Froese said. “I had been in contact with the team since last October. About a month and a half ago one of the coaches called me and said they had situation happen and they were looking for a guy to come and play this year — and that I was one of their considerations. He called back last Friday and made the offer.”
After talking it over with his family, and with his coaches, the 5-11, 185-pound defenseman accepted the offer.
“That’s been my goal (Division 1) since I started playing high school hockey here in Traverse City,” Froese said. “I couldn’t say no.”
Froese had another option, though. In the spring, he was drafted by the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League, the top junior league in the country.
“I went to their (Lancers) camp and made the team earlier this month,” Froese said.
“It was a decision where I didn’t feel like I could lose either way. The biggest thing for me was if I was ready to play college hockey. “
Froese talked with several people, including Corpus Christi coach John Becanic and former Traverse City North Stars GM Anthony Palumbo. Froese played one year for the North Stars.
“Everybody said, ‘You’re ready. You’ll be fine,’” Froese said. “Obviously it’s a bit of a jump, but I think I’ll be alright.”