The Minnesota Wilderness, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that defensemen Ivan Chukarov has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for University of Massachusetts, a member of the Hockey East.
This caps of a week in which Chukarov helped the Wilderness sweep divisional opponent, Kenai River, with two goals and two assist on the weekend. He also was also +6 on the weekend that helped the Wilderness get within 3 points of first place Fairbanks. His efforts earned his the Easton Hockey Midwest Division Star of the Week for the week of December 15, 2014.
Chukarov (6’3”/200) from Des Plaines, IL, has played in 23 games this season amassing six goals and twelve assists. Five of his 18 points have come on the man advantage and he has one game-winning goal, while also being a +8 on the season with 27 penalty minutes.
Chukarov, a product of the Chicago Mission program, is a high skilled defensemen that creates offense every time he has the puck and has really blossomed in his second year in the NAHL. He had a rough start to his NAHL career, with being traded and injured all before he ever played his first league game. But in the 72 games since, he has really established himself as an elite defensemen and player in the league.
“This is a big day for me and I have dreamed about this for a very long time, so to have this come true, is a great feeling”, said Chukarov. In why he choose UMass, Chukarov stated, “To be able to play in the Hockey East along with getting a great education that UMass offers is a great thing. This is a great opportunity for me to get exposure out East and ever since I was a kid, I wanted to play out East!”
Wilderness head coach Corey Millen had this to say about Ivan committing to UMass, “We are very excited for Ivan. We feel his skill level is as good as anybody in the league and deserves this great opportunity.”