Noel Parker, Rochester Grizzlies


Noel Parker has bounced around with six different hockey programs in the past three seasons.

He settled in nicely in Rochester, since joining the Rochester Grizzlies of the North American 3 Hockey League back in late October.

Next fall, the St. Paul native will settle in even closer to home.

Parker has committed to play Division III college hockey at St. Olaf College in Northfield, beginning next fall.

The 19-year-old defenseman has found his comfort zone -- and his offense -- since joining the Grizzlies two months into the season. The 6-foot, 195-pound right-shot defenseman has posted five goals and 15 assists in 27 games for the Grizzlies, who sit atop the NA3HL West Division standings with a 30-8-1 record.

Parker is the Grizzlies' second-highest scoring defenseman, behind Michael Heitkamp, who has 28 points in 35 games.

"St. Olaf and Coach Workman are getting a great human being," Grizzlies head coach Chris Ratzloff said. "He will be successful on the ice and in the classroom. It will be exciting to see how his game translates to the college level."

Parker started the season with Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League, playing eight games this season after playing 34 games with the Generals last season. He recorded six assists in 42 total games with the Generals, who play in Attleboro, Mass.

"He has been a great addition to our team, bringing toughness in the defensive zone with the ability to jump up and add offense from the back end," Ratzloff said. "His leadership has grown along with his game and we couldn't be more thrilled for him on his commitment, it is well earned.

Parker had 86 points in 100 career games at St. Paul Academy, where he served as a team captain as a senior. He split time between the NA3HL's Great Falls Americans, the NAHL's Northeast Generals and Boston Advantage U18 of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.

"It's everyone's goal to move forward," Parker said. "My time here has helped me develop and move forward towards my goal of playing college hockey."

Parker is the first Grizzlies player this season to announce a college commitment.

The Grizzlies host Alexandria at 7 p.m. Thursday, then play at Coulee Region at 7 p.m. Saturday.

What's your reaction?