Former Anaheim Jr. Ducks defenseman Slava Demin committed to play NCAA Division I college hockey at the University of Denver shortly before Christmas.
Demin, who is in his first season of junior hockey, had 16 points through 30 games for the Wenatchee Wild of the British Columbia Hockey League. He plans to enroll at Denver for the 2018-19 season.
"I'm grateful for my time with the Jr. Ducks and the good coaches I had," the 2000 birth year said. "Last year I played for a good (16U) team and it was the first year in the Tier 1 (Elite Hockey) league.
"It was fun to go into such a highly competitive league and play in different cities. It was a good year for my development."
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Demin, who played the past three seasons with the club as a Bantam and Midget 16U, becomes the 10th player with ties to the program to make a D-I commitment in the past two years.
"It's pretty neat to see that amount of players committing," Jr. Ducks Director of Coaches Craig Johnson said. "When we started a AAA program that was a goal - to provide opportunities for players, starting as youngsters through 18U AAA.
"To see these commitments is evidence that the club is providing resources to help kids hit their goals."
Demin had 14 combined points and five goals for the Jr. Ducks 16U AAA team that won a 2016 CAHA State title. He also helped the Jr. Ducks Bantam AAA team win CAHA and Pacific District titles and reach the USA Hockey Youth Nationals in 2015.
Demin played for Team USA at the U17 Five Nations Tournament in August after participating in USA Hockey's National Team Development Evaluation Camp last spring, an event that drew the top 48 2000 birth year prospects. He also participated in USAH Select 15 and Select 16 camps the past two summers.
Jr. Ducks Director of Player Personnel Alex Kim, who coached Demin during the 2015-16 season, said the defenseman has a diverse and effective skill set.
"Slava skates very well and has very good hands," Kim said. "Defensively, he has a very good stick. His upside is big."
Demin also is one of six players with ties to the Jr. Ducks who have made NCAA Division I college commitments this season.
Longtime Jr. Ducks 2001s defensemen Cameron York (Boston College) and Nicholas Kent (Quinnipiac) committed in early fall. Center Eetu Selanne (Northeastern) and defenseman Rourke Russell (Miami) - who played a couple of seasons of Bantam AAA with the Jr. Ducks - committed later in the fall, and forward Patrick Choi (Bentley) also committed last week.
That also brings the number of D-I commitments for the program to 10 in the past two years. Justin Dixson (UMass-Amherst), Jack Gates (Colorado College) and Chad Sasaki (Colorado College) committed during the 2014-15 season and Rory Herrman (Arizona State) committed last season. In addition, one of Herrman's teammates, goaltender Carl Stankowski, is playing for Seattle of the Western Hockey League.
"The players who are committing are putting in a lot of extra work - weight lifting, skating, shooting," Johnson said. "Hockey is very competitive across the U.S. now. It's a testament to them."