FAIRBANKS, Alaska – North Iowa Bulls defenseman Evan Junker has been an expert set-up man for the three-time national champions. On four different occasions, he’s even closed a play by putting away a goal himself. He’ll soon start a new chapter in the North American Hockey League, signing a tender Thursday with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
Junker has emerged as a leader on the Bulls’ defensive ledger this season, with 20 points, the second-most among North Iowa blueliners. With more than 120 scouts in attendance at the NA3HL Showcase last week, Junker set himself apart, scoring a goal in the opener against the Mid-Cities Jr. Stars and posting four assists over the three-day event. In last Monday’s win over the Northeast Generals, he had an assist on Justin Callahan‘s eventual game-winner.
With that tender agreement, Junker will start the 2019-20 season with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and will not be eligible for this spring’s NAHL Draft. Any NAHL appearances he makes during the remainder of this season will also be made in an Ice Dogs uniform.
The Elk River, Minnesota native will follow another recent North Iowa Bull to Alaska. Goaltender Josh Benson went undefeated in Mason City, winning all seven of his decisions before playing two years for the Ice Dogs. This season, he is a freshman at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, with a 3-2-1 record in his first season of NCAA Division I hockey. Like Junker, Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart also grew up in Elk River.
In seven-and-a-half years on the ice, more than 30 North Iowa Bulls players have reached the NAHL. Three of those players are currently active in NCAA Division I hockey, with several others playing for professional teams. More than 50 NA3HL alumni suited up in the NAHL a year ago, with that number expected to rise this season.
The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Evan Junker on taking this next major step in his hockey career.