The Merritt Centennials have announced the commitment of forward and Merritt local Rylan Van Unen to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Now in his 3rd year with the Merritt Centennials Van Unen has already matched his career high in BCHL points with 18 this season through 29 games. He won a gold medal last season with Head Coach Joe Martin and Team Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge while putting up 16 points in 43 games. In his rookie season he tallied 5 goals and 13 assists in 53 games.
Van Unen says it was his speed and tenacity that the program likes.
"They liked how I played hard on the forecheck, that 200 foot, North, South game."
Head Coach Joe Martin adds that it's special to see a player that's been a part of the team for three seasons move on.
"Extremely excited for his Rylan and his family. The Nanooks have had their eye on Rylan even all the way back to their former coaching staff so they have a lot of notes on him, did their homework, made three trips to see him play, and he's really happy with the opportunity he'll get there."
Van Unen will join a Division 1 program, and suit up for the blue and yellow of the Nanooks in the WCHA division. As a member of the Nanooks, Van Unen will suit up against some familiar faces including: Zach Court and Nick Wicks (University of Alaska Anchorage), Former Captain Tyrell Buckley (Michigan Tech University), brother Michael Van Unen (Northern Michigan University) and Jacob Berger (Minnesota State University, Monkato).
With the commitment, the Cents now have 8 players on the roster who will move on to NCAA hockey.