Another Bear commits to college

Another Brown Bear commits to college

Ryan Townsend recently became the fifth Kenai River Brown Bear from the 2009-10 season born in 1989 to commit to college hockey. Townsend will play for Minnesota-based Gustavus Adolphus College, a Division III program.

\”I\’m superexcited to get to go there,\” Townsend said Tuesday. \”It was my No. 1 choice out of all of the colleges that were recruiting me.\”

Townsend said his two seasons with Kenai River in the North American Hockey League enabled him to move onto college hockey.

\”My main priority was to get a hockey scholarship out of the NAHL,\” he said. \”I definitely think going to Kenai was a good choice.\”

Townsend said he plans on studying kinesiology in order to work in the field of physical therapy.

Most of the NAHL players started skating at a young age. Add up 15-plus years of playing hockey — equipment, team fees, time spent driving, etc. — and it\’s a spendy venture for hockey parents. There\’s no better reward to those parents than being able repay some of those costs with college scholarships.

\”There\’s no bigger thank-you after an entire childhood and adolescence of hockey than to call your parents and say, \’I just got into college and they\’re giving me some money to play hockey for them,\’\” Brown Bears head coach Oliver David said Tuesday.

David stressed that just because players don\’t play Division I hockey, that doesn\’t mean they haven\’t achieved success. Receiving money to further one\’s education while continuing to play hockey at any level is a success, he said.

\”The only thing that lessens that sweet taste is the ego,\” he said. \”Just like anything in life, if the ego gets in the way, then you feel like you failed not playing Division I. That\’s not what it should be.\”

Townsend joins Jake Musselman, Braden Kinnebrew, Brad Fusaro and Mike Martin as former Brown Bears too old to play in the NAHL next season that have committed to colleges. David said he\’s hard at work for the remaining players born in 1989 and hopes to have all nine furthering their hockey careers next year.

\”We might have a 100 percent success rate with our graduating \’89s,\” David said. \”What a great thing. It\’s tough to play at the next level. Not everybody gets money to go to college.\”

Jeff Helminiak and Mike Nesper can be reached at