Haden Kruse announces his commitment to play NCAA Division I Hockey for the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Dec 6, 2023

The Janesville Jets, members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce that forward Haden Kruse has announced his commitment to play NCAA Division 1 hockey for the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“It means everything to me”, said Haden. “I’ve worked my whole life for a D1 scholarship so having my dream come true is very special to me and my family. I’d like to thank my family, past and present coaches, teammates, and friends who have helped me through this long process.”

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is located right in the heart of Fairbanks, Alaska. They are currently one of six NCAA schools that are considered independent. The team is led by head coach Erik Largen, a Fairbanks native, who is in his fifth season. The Alaska Nanooks finished 22-10-2 last season being dominant at home with a 10-2-1 record. The Nanooks play out of the Carlson Center, which is the third-largest rink in Alaska. 

“I picked the University of Alaska Fairbanks because the coaching staff was beyond supportive and believed in how much I can make an impact on their team in years to come,” stated Haden. 

This is the twenty-year-old first season with the Janesville Jets. In the first 23 games of the 2023-24 season, Haden has recorded 31 points and is currently in 4th place in the NAHL. Scoring 10 goals and 21 assists he has been a huge asset to the Jet’s offense this year. He has been named to the NAHL Midwest Star of the Week twice this year. 

“Haden has been a dominant force on the ice this season,” added head coach Joe Dibble. “His ability to jump up into plays has been a huge contribution to the high-scoring Jets offense this year. We are all extremely proud of Haden’s accomplishment in committing to Alaska Fairbanks. With a lot of success early in the season, we knew a D1 offer wouldn’t take long.”

The 2003 forward is from Nisswa, Minnesota, and grew up playing in his hometown for Brainerd High. While playing at Brainerd, Haden had the opportunity to play a year with his older brother, whom he has always looked up to. “My biggest role model would have to be my older brother who I looked up to my entire life,” said Haden. “We grew up together on the outdoor rinks and learned to love the game together.” 

After graduation, Haden went to play the 2020-21 season for the Minnesota Wilderness NAHL and the Des Moines Buccaneers USHL. Returning to the Wilderness in 2021, Haden recorded 19 points with 8 goals and 11 assists in 27 games. In the 2022-23 season, Haden returned to the USHL playing 23 games with the Tri-City Storm and 22 games with the Omaha Lancers. A proven high-level player, the Jets were happy to have locked in Haden for the 2023-24 season.

The Jets couldn’t be prouder of Haden committing to play at the NCAA level! Being 19 games into the season, the Jets look to continue to build this team into a playoff-caliber group. Haden added, “Our group in Janesville is a very special group and I believe that we have the ability to do tremendous things throughout the rest of this year.” We would agree with Haden and look forward to seeing the Jets back in action this weekend!