OKOTOKS, AB - The Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are excited to announce that 2001-born defenceman Riley Bodnarchuk (Okotoks, AB) has committed to attend and play for the University of Minnesota Duluth, beginning in the 2022-23 NCAA Division I hockey season.
Located in Duluth, Minnesota, the UMD Bulldogs compete in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) under 22nd-year head coach Scott Sandelin, under whom the program won the 2011, 2018, and 2019 national championships. UMD is currently the #6-ranked program in the nation in the USCHO rankings.
A veteran of 145 AJHL regular season games over four season of junior hockey, Bodnarchuk is in the midst of a career season with his hometown Oilers, serving as an alternate captain and scoring 31 points (8 goals, 23 assists) in 36 games played, with 67 penalty minutes.
“It’s great to see a local player like Riley achieve this,” said Oiler head coach and general manager Tyler Deis. “After finally getting the chance to get him onto his hometown team, and after the great, impactful season he’s had for us, we’re excited for him to have this huge opportunity to play for such an elite level program at an excellent school.”
In total, the 6’3”, 195lb rearguard recorded 72 points (16 goals, 56 assists) in those 145 games split between the Calgary Mustangs, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Spruce Grove Saints, Calgary Canucks, and the Oilers. Previously, he was a graduate of the inaugural season for the Okotoks Oilers U18 AAA squad.
At UMD, Bodnarchuk will join fellow Oiler alumni Tanner Laderoute and Quinn Olson who currently compete for the Bulldogs.
“Riley’s experience in this league and his leadership abilities have had a big impact on our group this year,” Deis added. “His calmness and composure have been a great example for our young defence corps in particular, and we know he’ll bring those same qualities to Duluth.”
He is the fourth Oiler to commit to an NCAA Division I school in-season this year, and the seventh overall commit on the team’s roster, joining Bowden Singleton (North Dakota), Rieger Lorenz (Denver), Conyr Hellyer (Arizona State), Connor Gourley (Arizona State), Tucker McRae (Dartmouth), and Sam Huck (Western Michigan).