Two players with ties to the Anaheim Jr. Ducks recently made NCAA Division I college commitments.
Forward Cooper Haar, a 1999 birth year who played Midget 16U AAA for the club, committed to Canisius College. He will begin playing for the Golden Griffins this fall.
Forward Sam Deckhut, a 2002 birth year who played Pee Wee AAA hockey for the Jr. Ducks, committed to St. Lawrence University. He will begin playing for the Saints in either 2021 or ’22.
Haar is a top-30 scorer in the North American Hockey League this season with 42 points (17 goals) in 46 games for Aberdeen. He is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound power forward.
“Canisius is a great opportunity for me,” Haar said. “I like the fit with the staff. The Buffalo area is nice and it’s a good school academically.”
Haar has played four seasons of junior hockey, and he’s found his groove this year.
“I’ve got more confidence,” he said. “Coach (Scott) Langer has helped instill that. He relies on me to put points up and be a leader in the locker room, lead by example.”
Haar’s perseverance is one attribute that stood out to his Jr. Ducks coach, Alex Kim.
“Cooper has endured a lot of peaks and valleys,” Kim said. “I’m proud of him.”
Haar said he enjoyed his time with the Jr. Ducks.
“It was a good experience,” Haar said. “We had a good staff and a good group of players.”
Kim, who also is the Jr. Ducks’ director of player personnel, said Haar offers an intriguing combination of skills for Canisius.
“He’s got a big frame and he skates well for as big as he is,” Kim said. “He also has good hands. Canisius is getting a great kid who is a solid teammate and wants to win.
“He always asked a lot of questions because he wants to improve every day.”
The 5-10, 170-pound Deckhut is playing for Salisbury Prep this season. He is a playmaker who is equally comfortable playing center or wing.
Kim also is bullish on Deckhut’s college prospects.
“Sammy is a really good kid,” Kim said. “He has great work habits, which will translate well to the college game.”
The duo gives the Jr. Ducks 24 D-I commitments in the past six seasons.