Nolin Ainsworth/ Sun Star Reporter
May 6, 2014
When Colton Parayko plays hockey, people can’t help but watch. Please glance at the picture of him. Now imagine it is life size, three dimensional and moving lightning quick.
This is a taste of what Nanook fans were treated to on 23 occasions when Parayko skated in front on them at the Carlson Center this past season, and what a season it was for him.
Colton Parayko is a 6-foot-4-inch sophomore defenseman on the Alaska Nanooks hockey team. He joined the Nanooks in 2012 after playing two seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League as a member of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. In his freshman and sophomore campaigns at UAF, he has emerged as a budding star and leader on the team. Last season he finished tied for third in points on his team.
Head coach of the Alaska Nanooks Dallas Ferguson describes his young defensemen’s skill-set as a “special combination.”
“It’s very impressive actually when a player is that size and is able to have the speed that he has, the athleticism he has.”
Other coaches in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association appear to agree with Ferguson.
Upon the conclusion of the WCHA regular season this year, Parayko was awarded the 2013-14 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year (approximately 80 defensemen play for a WCHA squad).
The accolades kept coming in for the sophomore, and the very next month, his name appeared on the list of Hockey Division I Second Team All-Americans, alongside fellow ‘Nook Cody Kunyk.
The Nanooks do not see this kind of talent come through the program very often, let alone see one of their players achieve it as a sophomore. It’s been five years since a Nanook has been named an All-American, according an Alaska Nanooks press release.
Away from the rink, he is your normal UAF student, or at least that is exactly how he acts. Like most college sophomores, “some days” he misses family, he relies on the Writing Center for printing, and he can be found talking to foreign exchange students in the Wood Center.