Article: Aidan Serra
The Blackfalds Bulldogs are proud to announce that Brendan Ross has committed to playing NCAA division one hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. The 2003-born centreman has scored 15 goals and 37 points in his 43 games with the Bulldogs so far this season. Ross is in his second AJHL season, scoring seven goals and 18 points in the 2021-22 campaign as a rookie with the Bulldogs. Ross is a Calgary native and played for the U18 AAA Calgary Buffaloes prior to his arrival in Blackfalds.
Ross said a commitment to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks was on his radar after he was first contacted by the team at the beginning of 2023.
“Fairbanks first reached out in early January to get to know me,” said Ross. “They visited Blackfalds and watched a game live before making an excellent offer which I was thrilled to receive and accept.”
After a good rookie season, Ross’ offensive production has taken a step forward this year. Bulldogs Head Coach Doug Quinn says that can be attributed to Ross’ growing confidence.
“Brendan has been given the opportunity to develop the skill and the confidence to play at the next level,” said Quinn. “I think that’s what some of the NCAA teams are seeing, he has a ton of upside… there’s been huge growth in Brendan’s game over the past year.”
Brendan himself echoed Quinn’s sentiment regarding growing confidence, while simultaneously crediting the team around him.
“I’m more comfortable holding onto the puck longer which enables me to consistently make the right hockey plays regardless of who I’m playing with. I’m fortunate to have so many talented, hard-working teammates that I can make great plays with to consistently convert on the opportunities we generate.”
Ross specifically gave credit to longtime linemate Jason Siedem, who has played alongside Ross for most of the last two seasons. “Playing with Sieds last year really allowed me to learn what kind of player he is and allowed us to build a good base for this year. His high hockey IQ and vision on the ice makes him a good fit with my style of play and we are able to feed off one another. We also both like to attack on the PK to turn pucks over to generate offence when possible. We each know where we’re going to be in most situations and that chemistry has made us really effective together.”
Head Coach Quinn expressed his pride in Ross, saying “He is a great kid… he’s just getting better all the time. Brendan himself is starting to realize how good he can be.”
Ross commended his coaches and the resources around him for helping him with his development, saying “Our coaching staff has really found a way to find our potential as players and push us to reach or even surpass that. Whether that be by video, additional practice or even a little tough love, they have found what works for each individual and we all buy into what our coaches have to say.”
Ross has one year left of junior eligibility beyond this one before he continues his career in the NCAA. Ross joins Brett Meerman, Jason Siedem, Connor Dick, Layne Loomer, and Tanner Willick now becoming the sixth member of the Blackfalds Bulldogs to earn a division one commitment already this season.
Head coach Quinn says the consistent development of his players is indicative of the organizational goals.
“We bring the players in, get them in our program, give them the resources to have success, and we’ve certainly been successful this year. We’re getting attention from some NCAA schools, they’re coming to watch our games, watch our program and it’s leading to commitments.”
The entire Bulldogs organization would like to congratulate Brendan and his family on his commitment and wish him the best of luck at the University of Alaska Fairbanks!