OKOTOKS, AB  – The Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are happy to announce that third-year forward and team captain Dean Spak (Calgary, AB) has committed to attend and play for the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Nanooks play as an NCAA Division I Independent school under fourth-year head coach Erik Largen.

“It’s fantastic and well-deserved for Dean,” said Oilers head coach and general manager Tyler Deis. “He’s shown an amazing level of commitment to our program for more than three years now, and sets an example that we want others to follow.”

“Our staff couldn’t be happier for him today taking this latest step in the journey he’s charted through his hard work and dedication. His skills on the ice and leadership qualities off of it have grown consistently, and we know Fairbanks will benefit greatly from him as much as he will from them.”

This season, Spak has so far recorded a career-best point-per-game pace with the Oilers, scoring 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games, following up a sophomore campaign last year in which he scored 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 60 games.

But it was in the 2022 playoffs where Spak began his breakout, recording 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 14 games, leading the team in playoff goals and ranking second in postseason scoring.

“My goal from day one with Okotoks has been to have the opportunity to play college hockey, and it’s an honour to be taking that next step,” Spak said. “I’ve been with Coach Deis for a very long time now and can’t thank him enough for his support in developing me as a person and a hockey player.

“Experiencing Alaska last week and meeting the coaches, staff and players played a big part in my decision,” he added. “Fairbanks has great facilities, and a small town atmosphere with tons of community support.

“I’m looking forward to playing a unique schedule with an independent school that allows them to play teams from lots of different conferences.”

The 5’11”, 180lb forward also scored four points in six games in the shortened 2020-21 season, following up two years in which he affiliated with the Oilers while playing for the U18 AAA Calgary Northstars. Prior to that, he was an all-star nominee in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League in 2017-18, when he scored 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 34 games for the CNHA Sabres.

He is the ninth player on this season’s Oilers roster committed to an NCAA Division I school, and the sixth to commit this season, joining:

  • Nick Wolfenberg (Cornell)
  • Brody Maguire (RPI)
  • Kade Turner (Ferris State)
  • Rylan Brown (Michigan Tech)
  • Jagger Tapper (RPI)
  • Sam Huck (Western Michigan)
  • Conyr Hellyer (Arizona State)
  • Connor Gourley (Arizona State)*