Alaskan hockey athlete signs NLI to compete for Division-I Indiana Tech

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 4:48 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In front of friends and family on Tuesday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Ice Arena, Jaiden Rogers signed her National Letter of Intent to play hockey at the Division-I level for the Indiana Tech Warriors. Indiana Tech will be playing their first women’s hockey season next year.

“I really felt like he wanted me and I felt like he wants me to be a part of something that’s super special,” said Rogers on why she chose Indiana Tech. “I really appreciate that, his offer.”

Jaiden Rogers (#71) playing for the Alaska All-Stars.
Jaiden Rogers (#71) playing for the Alaska All-Stars.(Heather Rogers)

Indiana Tech is preparing for their first season with a hockey program which is slated to start for the 2021-22 season. The Warriors will be competing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Indiana Tech’s Women’s Hockey Head Coach is Scott Hicks, who spent the past 10 years at Miami University in Ohio. After starting the program in 2010, Coach Hicks led the Red Hawks to three national championships in ‘14, ‘16 and ‘17.

This past October, Rogers was down in Detroit, Michigan for a showcase where Coach Hicks got to see the Fairbanks player on the ice. She was able to display her on-ice awareness and technical skating ability in front of her future head coach who went on to make her an offer to Indiana Tech.

“Her ability to see the ice, her ability to skate, her ability to impact the game was something that really stuck out to us,” said Coach Hicks about Rogers as a player. “We pride ourselves in our culture here. It’s what made us successful at Miami [University in Ohio], it’s what’s going to make us successful [at Indiana Tech]. Her ability on the ice was great, but the person that she is off the ice is what really sold us on her and her fit here. That’s why we made such a strong push for her and that connection we had with her and parents right off the bat was there. We were really comfortable with that and I think that she was really comfortable with us and it was a perfect fit on both ends I think.”

Rogers has been on the Alaskan scene, playing girls hockey for majority of her life. Playing for the Alaska Icebreakers and the Alaska All-Stars during her career. Rogers will be making the transition to play on the high school level for the West Valley Wolfpack for her senior year.

“Definitely playing with the kids I grew up with,” said Rogers about what she looks forward to playing at West Valley. “I think it will be super fun to be able to actually play with them and not against them because I grew up playing against most of them. They’ve also been there for me for the past, long time. I’m super excited to be able to play with them.”

Jaiden Rogers (#17) playing for the Alaska Icebreakers.
Jaiden Rogers (#17) playing for the Alaska Icebreakers.(Heather Rogers)

Rogers will get to be a part of the fledgling program in Indiana, along with many other recruits that Coach Hicks brings in during the 2020-21 academic year. Rogers after her senior season at West Valley, she will be making a 3,616 mile journey to Fort Wayne, Indiana to start her next chapter in her hockey career.

“Yeah I just remember starting out coaching her when she was little and it’s always something she’s wanted to do,” said Jaiden’s father, Mike Rogers. “Just super proud of her and it just goes to show that anybody can do it. You just have to put the work in and have a great attitude.”

At the moment there is no schedule out for high school hockey as the Alaska School Activities Association continues to figure out a mitigation plan for the sport while the state still battles the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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