Transfer Ivens-Anderson looks to make an impact for UA hockey

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Kyle Wasson/Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA hockey team held a preseason camp last week and will have upcoming tryouts.

Ansel Ivens-Anderson thought he was finished with hockey. He even thought about quitting. Ironically enough, an opportunity to play hockey in the desert oasis of Tucson brought him back into the game he loves.

Ivens-Anderson transferred to the UA after playing for New Hampshire, an NCAA Division I team in the elite Hockey East conference — a far cry from an Arizona team that plays in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and is technically just a club. In fact, the last Division I hockey player to transfer to Arizona came back in 1993 when Kevin Oztekin transferred from the University of Denver.

“Two years back at [New Hampshire], it didn’t work out as well as I would have liked it to,” Ivens-Anderson said. “I stopped playing and I was trying to figure out what to do from there.”

It was not long before Ivens-Anderson, a junior forward, decided to return to hockey, a goal made easier by the fact that Arizona head coach Sean Hogan thinks so highly of him.

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“Ansel’s a player that is a high level hockey player and he is going to be one of the top players in our league,” Hogan said. “He played at the University of New Hampshire … so [he played] against Boston College, [Boston University], traditional hockey institutions.”

In the last 20 years, the Hockey East conference has earned 29 of the 74 NCAA Frozen Four berths and won eight national championships, including Boston College in 2012. So, in short, the competitive level is pretty high.

Ivens-Anderson transferred to Arizona last year after a number of family visits and his father describing the area to him as “amazing”.

“I figured I wanted to check out the warm weather. I had a couple friends that were out here, loved it, loved the hockey team and I figured it was as good a place as any to transfer to,” Ivens-Anderson said.

After transferring to Arizona, Ivens-Anderson was introduced to the ice hockey team by his friend Zack Waxenberg, a senior defenseman, and fell in love with the atmosphere at Wildcats games at the Tucson Convention Center.

“I played juniors with him back … in 2008 and we’ve just been friends ever since,” Waxenberg said. “He called me last year towards the end of the first semester and just said ‘hey I’m transferring to Arizona, do you know of any good place to live,’ and I said ‘absolutely, come live with me,’ and I introduced him to all the hockey guys and he came out to some games and he decided he wanted to play out here.”

Ivens-Anderson, a Pound Ridge, New York native, credits Waxenberg for bringing him back to the game.

“I’ve known Zack Waxenberg for years now, so he was really kind of the main guy bringing me out here in terms of bringing me to the games and introducing me to all the guys, kind of making it more at more at home for me,” Ivens-Anderson said.

Ivens-Anderson had heard about Arizona hockey from ACHA players like Waxenberg while he played for UNH, but didn’t realize how much support the Arizona hockey program had. The UNH Wildcats play in an arena about as big as the Arizona’s TCC.

“I didn’t realize the atmosphere until I came out to the first game and really saw just how incredible it is, just how much support there is. It was completely different than what I thought it would be like,” Ivens-Anderson said.

Ivens-Anderson did not get into any games at New Hampshire, but for the New Jersey Hitman of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, he had 55 points in 45 games in 2008-09, 26 points in 40 games for the New Hampshire Monarchs, also of the EJHL in 2007-08 and 34 points in 38 games for the Monarchs in 2006-07.

“We’re giving him the opportunity and I think he is going to be able to fill that void for us,” Hogan said. “He’s going to fill a big role I’m sure.”


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