Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UNH Commit Nick Ardanaz: A Quick, Agile Defenseman

Nick Ardanaz
2020 or '21 UNH Commit
"Nicolas Ardanaz (is) a smooth, balanced skater with quickness and agility." Neutral Zone
"Nick is a gifted skater with dynamic edges and ability to control the puck." Kevin Pedersen, Arizona Coyotes Scout, Head Scout and Assistant Coach, Vernon Vipers
Nicolas Ardanaz Defenseman, 5'8", 152 lbs. Shoots Left
Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia
DOB: 5-30-2002 Turned 16 in May
Undrafted by WHL or USHL
Neutral Zone Rating: 3.75 out of 5 Stars
Current Teams: Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep & Vernon Vipers
                       ~ Alternate Captain; Starting Left Defenseman; 1st Power Play Unit
Committed to UNH: November, 2018 at Age 16 years, 6 months.

2018 BCHL Preseason Highlight Reel

The British Columbia Hockey League allows each team to have two 16-year-old players. Nick Ardanaz turned 16 last May and in August he participated in the Vernon Vipers training camp and preseason games with the goal of making the final roster. These video highlights are from the final exhibition game on August 31st against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Ardanaz wore #2 in the white Vipers jersey. The reel shows a number of Ardanaz's skills including carrying the puck up ice, shooting, passing, quarterbacking the power play, body checking, and handling 2-on-1 rushes into his defensive zone.


I had an opportunity to interview Nick Ardanaz, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?

Nick Ardanaz: The main reasons why I chose to commit to UNH were the coaches, the culture surrounding the school and the hockey program, and the beautiful campus and facilities. I really wanted a school where hockey is a big part of its identity, where I can get a great education all while playing in a great atmosphere.
Coach Stewart’s tour around the campus really exposed me to all parts of the university, and it offered everything I was looking for. As a family, it was easy for us to say that UNH has all the pieces to the puzzle for me as a player and as a future college student.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?

Nick Ardanaz: I had an offer from one WCHA school, but never visited. I considered a couple of Ivy League schools. UNH was my first official visit but I had unofficially visited one Big 10 school last year.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?

Ardanaz: Talking to Coach Souza and Coach Stewart, if we both agree that after one year of junior I’m ready to make the jump, I can potentially go in as a true freshman. Otherwise, I will spend two years in junior and come into UNH after that.

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Ardanaz: My main strengths are my skating, my ability to make a good first pass and my ability to create offensive opportunities from the back end. I like to become the fourth forward off the rush, and I see myself as a good power play defenceman.
An area I need to improve is my strength which will overall help me improve my ability to defend in our own zone, as well as my stick control against bigger and faster forwards.

Lowry: In June, you committed to play for the Vernon Vipers in the British Columbia Hockey League. You attended their training camp in August, played in some exhibition games, and was one of eight defensemen to make their 23-player roster in early September. What are the biggest adjustments you will need to make as you transition from high school hockey to the Junior A level?

Ardanaz: The BCHL is a much faster and heavier league than high school hockey, so I’m going to have to adjust to making decisions with the puck a lot quicker. I’ll have to learn to take more hits more often against heavier guys and simplify my game to play against older players.

Lowry: While you wait to play in a Vipers' regular season game, you have been playing for the Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep team and have tallied 14 assists in 19 games. When do you think you may be called up to play for Vernon?

Ardanaz: I’ll be going up to Vernon after Christmas for some time and could get a game in there, and from what I know, I’ll be joining them after my season with Delta is over. If they run into some injuries within the d-core throughout the year, I could get some games in as well. I’m not too worried about being called up to play, but when the time comes it’ll be an exciting experience for me.

Lowry: Your coach on the Delta Academy Prep team is Spencer Bennett, a former 5th-Round pick of the Calgary Flames who played in the AHL and East Coast Hockey League. What is the most important lesson you have learned from Coach Bennett?

Ardanaz: Something Coach Bennett has always preached to me is to keep my game simple. It’s easy to overcomplicate things as an offensive defenseman and he’s always made me look for the easy plays. Even as a forward during his career, he has great knowledge on defenseman and knows right from wrong on the back end. He prepares me for the next level while allowing me to play my style of game.

Lowry: When do you plan to graduate from high school? What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH?

Ardanaz: I plan to graduate next year out of South Delta Secondary School. I’m strong in English and Math so I plan on majoring in business or finance when I enroll.

Scouting Reports
"3.75 Star prospect Nicolas Ardanaz commits to UNH. A smooth, balanced skater with quickness and agility who sees the ice, has soft hands and precision passing ability. Skilled PP defenseman;" Neutral Zone
"The decision to commit to Nick a year out was based on his development as a player. Nick is a gifted skater with dynamic edges and ability to control the puck. He has great vision and excels in the offensive side of the game.These attributes will be pushed while playing for the Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep team this season (2018/19). This will allow Nick to step into the Vernon Vipers lineup the year after with more confidence and with a larger role. We thank Nick and his family for the commitment to be a part of the Vipers organization and we know our fans will love watching him play in the future. Our staff are excited to helping Nick earn an NCAA scholarship in the future and we believe his ability will help achieve that goal.” Kevin Pedersen, Arizona Coyotes Scout, Head Scout and Assistant Coach, Vernon Vipers

Youth Hockey and Prep School Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Nick Ardanaz  (D) 2018-19 Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep CSSHL 19 0 14 14 6
Vernon Vipers BCHL - - - -
2017-18 Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep CSSHL 2 0 0 0 0
Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s CSSHL U15 33 13 18 31 14
Playoffs 2 0 2 2 0
2016-17 Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep CSSBHL 29 5 8 13 6
Playoffs 5 0 2 2 0
2015-16 Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Varsity CSSBVL 21 1 6 7 6
Playoffs 3 0 0 0 0


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