Kenai River Brown Bears defenseman Markuss Komuls carries the puck against the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets on Oct. 12, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears defenseman Markuss Komuls carries the puck against the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets on Oct. 12, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Brown Bears’ Komuls commits to UAF

When he was just 16, Kenai River Brown Bears defenseman Markuss Komuls left his home country of Latvia to come to the United States and pursue his goal of playing college hockey.

After time in Vermont, Pennsylvania and now Alaska, Komuls announced his commitment Friday to play college hockey for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is the second Kenai River player to go Division I this season, joining Eagle River’s Cam McDonald.

“He sacrificed a lot,” Brown Bears head coach Josh Petrich said. “He’s given up a lot of time with his family and friends, and time in his own country, to achieve this.”

Komuls, now 20, was traded to the Brown Bears just four games into last season. Since then his opinion of Alaska has evolved, allowing him to commit to spending four more years in the state.

“When we first traded for him, he wasn’t sold on the idea of coming to Alaska,” Petrich said. “He’s learned to enjoy it.”

Petrich said Komuls is professional and thorough in everything he does, from taking care of his body to the extensive college search that has played out for a year and a half.

Petrich said he congratulated Komuls on the commitment, and Komuls asked him another question.

“I had to say, ‘Markuss, this is the time to tell you congratulations. This isn’t the time for more questions,’” Petrich said. “He’s such a methodical kid.”

Komuls had eight goals and 27 assists for the Bears in 49 games last season, and also was named North American Hockey League Defenseman of the Month. This year, he has three goals and 10 assists in 19 games.

Last year, when the Bears were in town to play the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, Erik Largen, then the assistant and now the head coach at UAF, led the team on the tour of the facilities. Largen added Karlis Zirnis this summer as an assistant. Zirnis was Komuls’ U20 coach for Team Latvia.

Petrich said a lot of Brown Bears are getting Division I interest. That’s a result of a culture change that Komuls, an assistant captain this season, has helped foster.

“One of the main keys for us has been a change in the culture, in how we prepare and work and do all the stuff we do,” Petrich said. “He’s been a huge key to it.

“I’m really happy and excited for him to have this opportunity.”

More in Sports

Kenai, Nikiski squads take road losses

The Kenai Central girls and boys basketball teams were swept at Chugiak… Continue reading

Houston’s Daniel Matveev celebrates a goal against Soldotna on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi, Homer hockey take losses

The Houston hockey team notched a 6-1 victory over Soldotna on Thursday… Continue reading

Bears return home for 3-game set

The Christmas break threw the Kenai River Brown Bears out of their… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong, seated, in sled, gives his mother, Sylvia Jander, the unique Alaska experience of driving a sled-dog team in February 1989 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Fill out the squares of the Alaska Adventure Bingo Card

Moose, bears, sled dogs wolves, whales oh my: Alaska offers many adventures to check off.

Dog sick fungus, named for its resemblance to canine vomit, is neither vomit nor a fungus. It is a kind of slime mold common in tundra. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Names of living things have much to say

As we at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge seek to know about… Continue reading

SoHi JV girls topple Ninilchik

The host Soldotna JV girls basketball team notched a 39-27 victory over… Continue reading

SoHi JV cagers sweep CIA

The host Soldotna JV basketball teams scored nonconference wins over Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, races to victory in the Under-18 and over men's 10-kilometer interval start classic at Besh Cup 4 on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The Besh Cup races are mostly used to select skiers for Junior Nationals, but also give younger and older skiers a chance for top-notch racing. It took over 50 volunteers to put together the two days of races, which had over 200 skiers each day.
Kenai grad Danielson sweeps Besh Cup weekend at Tsalteshi

Tsalteshi Trails hosted the Besh Cup on Saturday and Sunday.

Ice Dogs sweep Brown Bears

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs got off to a solid start under new… Continue reading

Most Read