Alaska-Fairbanks, which has seen a strong start to 2005-06 soften in recent weeks, will start the remainder of the season with another challenge: the absence of its leading scorer.
On Tuesday, the school announced that sophomore center Ryan McLeod would sign a pro contract within the East Coast Hockey League. He was scheduled to leave Fairbanks immediately.
“The coaches and I talked it over and we decided that things with school and hockey just weren’t the right fit for me anymore,” said McLeod. “I’m ready to start my pro career and my parents and the coaches are fully supportive.
“I’ve really enjoyed my UAF experience, especially because of the community, the coaching staff and all the guys, I wish them the best of luck the rest of the season, and I hope to see them all again in the future.”
McLeod led the Nanooks in scoring through the first half of the season, compiling two goals and 12 assists in 14 games. His career totals were 17-22–39 in 49 games.
McLeod, a native of Fernie, B.C., was named to the CCHA Super Six All-Tournament Team in March 2005. He also set a CCHA record for fastest goal scored and fastest back-to-back goals in a 6-3 win during the first round of playoffs last season against Bowling Green.
There were also some bumps in the road for McLeod at UAF, who was suspended for a series against Ferris State Jan. 21-22, 2005. McLeod also did not play against Nebraska-Omaha on the weekend of Nov. 18-19 for disciplinary reasons.
“Ryan is a great kid and has been an outstanding hockey player for us,” said UAF head coach Tavis MacMillan. “He has a bright future ahead of him and he’ll always be a part of this program. We will miss him dearly.
“Our team has had to face adversity before,” added MacMillan. “We lost Jordan Hendry last year and it does hurt when you lose a player of that caliber. With Ryan out of the lineup we’ll be looking for others to step up, just as the team did last year with Jordan being out.”
UAF will host intrastate rival Alaska-Anchorage for the final two games of the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup this weekend at the Carlson Center. The Nanooks are currently 6-7-3 overall, and 4-6-2 in the CCHA.