April 1, 2022 | SPORTS | By Michael Braithwaite | Photo by Anil Jergens
On Wednesday, March 16, and Thursday, March 17, multiple sources reported that four Colorado College hockey players entered the NCAA transfer portal: defenseman Hugo Blixt ‘22, defenseman Jackson Ross ‘22, forward Cooper Fensterstock ‘25, and goalie Dominic Basse ‘24. Then, on Thursday, March 31, another source reported that a fifth player had entered the transfer portal: forward Jackson Jutting ‘24.
By entering the portal, these players likely will not be playing for the Tigers in the 2022-2023 hockey season.
Blixt and Ross, both seniors, received an extra year of NCAA eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Ross has been a member of CC’s program for his entire undergraduate career, he never received significant playing time and contributed to the team mostly in a reserve role. Blixt transferred from Boston University after his sophomore year and provided solid play in his defensive role during the two seasons that he was a Tiger.
Jutting had progressed from only appearing in 12 games in his first year as a Tiger to becoming a solid depth piece in CC’s offensive attack as a sophomore, accounting for three goals and seven assists this past season. Jutting, known for good passing and puck handling, had been recruited to CC by the previous coaching staff, and will seek to establish himself as a consistent starter in the fall at a different school.
Fensterstock only appeared in four games this past season. Despite his limited playing time, his presence brought much-needed energy and physicality to a unit that sometimes looked lost on the ice. After a great showing vs No. 16 Omaha, Head Coach Kris Mayotte commented on Fensterstock’s impactful play in-game and praised the forward’s work ethic in practice as well, saying that he was excited for the further development of his young forward.
If Fensterstock transfers, he will finish his Tiger career with only two shots on the stats sheet, but his other contributions on the ice will surely be missed by his teammates.
The most significant name who entered the transfer portal is Basse, who still has significant potential as a young goalie prospect.
Basse, a 2019 sixth-round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, struggled this past season in net, ultimately conceding substantial playing time to reserve goalie Matt Vernon as the season progressed.
If Basse transfers, he will finish his Tiger career with a 10-26-3 record as the starter in net, a 0.891 save percentage, and 3.21 goals against average in the 41 games he played. In the 24 appearances he made in the 2021-2022 season, he posted a 0.888 save percentage and 3.21 goals against average.
Vernon started the season as Basse’s backup before Mayotte made the decision to give him more playing time. Vernon excelled in the role, posting a 0.908 save percentage and 2.80 goals against average in his 15 appearances.
Basse’s interest in transferring is likely influenced by the play of Vernon, who seemed to cement himself as the more consistent option in net by the season’s end. Another factor could have been the recent signing of goalie Kaidan Mbereko, who showed off his talents as a member of the US National Junior Team this past winter, a team which Mayotte worked with in late December as an assistant coach.
When their teammates begin summer training in a few months, these five Tigers will be deciding where they want to continue their collegiate hockey careers.