Ward is the 14th player on the Vees’ roster to secure an NCAA Division l commitment, and says UNO’s program speaks for itself.
“It’s hard not to fall in love with that place, with their brand new facility, amazing campus and their coaching staff were great to me when I was down visiting. I was star struck walking into that new arena and who wouldn’t want to go to work there every day or play in front of those fans every game? It wasn’t a hard decision in my mind and I’m truly honour to be committed to UNO.”
The 18-year-old has six goals and 12 points in 23 games this season, already surpassing his totals for goals, assists and points from his rookie year. Ward is second in power-play goals on the Vees’ roster and has a goal and three points in his last two games.
A Kelowna, B.C. product, Ward noted his family is very familiar with Nebraska-Omaha’s head coach Dean Blais.
“He was my dad’s (Dixon Ward) coach at North Dakota and now it has comes full circle I suppose. I wouldn’t have reached this point without all the hard-work and sacrifice from, parents, grandparents and my sister. I owe a lot to my family.”
The Mavericks are based in Omaha, Nebraska, and they play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). Other NCHC teams are North Dakota, Miami-Ohio, Denver, Colorado College, Western Michigan, St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth.
Other BCHL alums on the current roster are Riley Alferd, Colin Grannary, David Pope and Luke Nogard.
The Mavs play out of the 7,800-seat Baxter Arena, which opened in the fall of 2015.