UND adds Union transfer Ryan Sidorski to round out defensive unit
Sidorski will replace Brady Ferner as the eighth blue liner on the Fighting Hawks' roster. Ferner is expected to sign a pro contract.
GRAND FORKS — Barring any summer surprises, UND has completed its roster for the 2022-23 men's hockey season.
The Fighting Hawks picked up a commitment this week from Union senior defenseman Ryan Sidorski to be the eighth and final blue liner, replacing Brady Ferner who is expected to sign a pro contract.
Sidorski, who is from the Buffalo, N.Y., suburb of Williamsville, will graduate from Union in June with a double major in neuroscience and economics. He has one year of college eligibility remaining.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defensive defenseman played 97 games at Union, tallying one goal and five points. Sidorski was fourth on Union in ice time last season, playing an average of 17 minutes, 55 seconds per game.
He shoots right-handed, which gives UND an even distribution between left-shot and right-shot defensemen for next season.
The left-shot defensemen are Tyler Kleven, Chris Jandric, Cooper Moore and Luke Bast. The right-shot defensemen are Ethan Frisch, Brent Johnson, UMass transfer Ty Farmer and Sidorski.
"I'm definitely a defensive defenseman," Sidorski said. "I like playing the body. I've been a PK (penalty kill) guy. When we're up a goal in the last couple minutes, I love playing those last couple minutes and shutting a team down."
Union's program went through plenty of adversity during Sidorski's time on campus.
Sidorski didn't have a junior season at all. The school canceled 2020-21 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Midway through his senior season, Union ousted head coach Rick Bennett.
Sidorski went into the NCAA portal before last season, knowing he wanted to play one more year. Teams reached out to him throughout the year.
Canisius, located adjacent to his hometown, had been his top choice until UND entered the mix in recent weeks. The Fighting Hawks went on a late search for a defenseman after Ferner notified them he's turning pro instead of using his fifth year.
"The fact that they reached out is such an honor," Sidorski said. "It's an honor to be playing at a school that has so much history and such a rich culture. They're an amazing team. They've been top 10 as long as I can remember. It's a great, great atmosphere there. The name speaks for itself. It's a lot of kids' dream to play for North Dakota. It's a cool experience to get."
Most of the Fighting Hawks will convene in Grand Forks in July for a few weeks, but Sidorski will come later. He already lined up a corporate banking internship in New York City with RBC Capital Markets.
Sidorski said he got a virtual tour of Ralph Engelstad Arena on a Zoom call.
"There's really not a comparison to anywhere else," he said. "It's amazing what they have at UND. It's spectacular."
Prior to Union, Sidorski played for the Buffalo Junior Sabres, the same program that produced UND forward Matteo Costantini. Other than a six-game stint with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League at the end of a season, Sidorski has never played for a team located outside his home state.
Despite the distance from home, Sidorski said his family is "excited about it."
"They're sad it's so far away," he said, "but they know it's an amazing opportunity and it's going to challenge me and make me better."
Expected 2022-23 UND hockey roster
Fifth-year Mark Senden
Fifth-year Gavin Hain
Senior Judd Caulfield
Senior Carson Albrecht
Junior Riese Gaber
Junior Griffin Ness
Junior Louis Jamernik
Sophomore Jake Schmaltz
Sophomore Matteo Costantini
Sophomore Jackson Kunz
Sophomore Nick Portz
Sophomore Dane Montgomery
Freshman Jackson Blake
Freshman Owen McLaughlin
Freshman Dylan James
Freshman Ben Strinden
Fifth-year Chris Jandric
Fifth-year Ty Farmer
Fifth-year Ryan Sidorski
Senior Ethan Frisch
Junior Tyler Kleven
Junior Cooper Moore
Sophomore Brent Johnson
Sophomore Luke Bast
Fifth-year Drew DeRidder
Sophomore Jakob Hellsten
Sophomore Kaleb Johnson