With his junior hockey career now complete, Jaedin Ness is looking forward to a new opportunity.
The forward, who spent the last two seasons with the Fort Frances Lakers, announced last week that he has committed to play hockey for the College of St. Scholastica Saints starting next season.
Despite an injury-riddled season with the Lakers in 2018-19, Ness still finished third in team scoring with 23 goals and 15 assists in 41 games.
He's hopeful all of the lessons learned from facing adversity will serve him well in the next chapter of his academic and athletic future.
“I'm definitely excited and with the heritage St. Scholastica has with my family that have gone there in the past, I'm really fortunate to commit there,” said the 21-year-old Wayzata, Mn. native.
“I know the coach there, Tim Madsen, he's a really good guy. I've heard a lot about him and basically, yeah, I'm really stoked to go there.”
Ness noted that in order to get a feel for the Saints' hockey program, he spoke with former Lakers' assistant coach Chris Sinclair.
“He said nothing but good things about the program,” Ness remarked.
“I know some alumni who have gone there and they [also] said nothing but good things and the league that they're in, the NCHA [Northern Collegiate Hockey Association], is by far one of the better leagues for Division 3 hockey and it fits my style of play,” he added.
“I'm more of a fast guy and it just fits my play a lot better than where I had other options to go.”
Ness is undecided as of yet on which program he will enrol in at he College of St. Scholastica, but did note that he likely would choose a business program.
He's also hopeful his past playing experience with the Lakers, coupled with his skating skills, will help him become a great addition to the Saints' roster.
“I feel like my last year here in the Fort was one of my good years,” he remarked.
“I feel like it kind of set me back a little bit for injury and whatnot but I kind of overcame a lot of stuff and a lot of obstacles because I was injured for a majority of the games and it helped me kind of prepare myself for what I need to do or what I need to bring this offseason,” Ness reasoned.
“The two years I spent up in Fort Frances were definitely some of my better years of hockey, for sure, and I'm definitely stoked to get into St. Scholastica to see how that all pans out here and see how hard I trained this offseason to come in and actually do a good job at Scholastica.”
Lakers' head/coach general manager Wayne Strachan is thrilled that Ness will be continuing on with his hockey and academic career and lauded what he can bring to the Saints' program.
“We are extremely proud for Jaedin. He came to us last season with a goal he wanted to further his career and education and he set out to do that,” he remarked.
“This season Ness was hindered by injury and I don't think we saw his true level of play come to the forefront,” he stressed.
"He was huge for us down the stretch, can shoot the puck, and plays at a high-intensity level.
“The Saints' program is getting a hard worker, a player that has passion, respects the game, and someone who wants to succeed to help the team,” Strachan added.
All told, Ness scored 52 goals and tallied 28 assists along with accumulating a total of 47 penalty minutes in 97 career games with the Lakers.
He also added three markers and three helpers in 12 career playoff games.