Fairbanks, Hunter Bishop, Alaska native leaves North Dakota because of lack of playing time.

Brother to join sister at Ohio State-Vancouver Newspaper

Monday, March 24, 2008, 02:11 AM

Brother to join sister at Ohio State

Alaska native leaves North Dakota because of lack of playing time.

With a name like Hunter Bishop, the Vernon Viper sniper was all but born to score goals.

He also has a fancy story these days to go with his flashy handle.

Bishop, 20, returned to the Vipers midway through last season from the powerhouse University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, giving up his scholarship over a lack of ice time and development possibilities.

He's landed a deal with another marquee NCAA team, though, as he's slated to join the Ohio State Buckeyes next fall.

"I hadn't actually talked to Ohio State the first time," says the Fairbanks, Alaska, native, who started with the Vipers in 2005-06. "But as soon as I left North Dakota and they put out that I had been released, Ohio State and my hometown school in Fairbanks were the first I heard from.

"I definitely looked at things from a couple of different angles this time. This time, I made sure it was going to be a better fit."

Part of the appeal for him is that the Buckeyes graduate five forwards at the end of this season.

There's also someone there he's close with. His sister, Teal Bishop, 18, is a freshman rearguard on Ohio State's women's hockey team.

Yes, the parents, Rita and Bill, went original on the names, although their youngest, Vivian, who's in Grade 11, has a more traditional moniker.

Vivian plays hockey too, and that's no surprise considering the family. The Bishops have an outdoor rink in their yard, souped up with boards, four floodlights and even high-end, cold-weather-resistant speakers to blast out tunes.

Hunter and Teal regularly play one-on-one at the rink.

"She's real excited about me coming to Ohio State," says Bishop, who has 18 goals and eight assists in 16 games with Vernon this season. "She's definitely wishing that I was there right now. We're really close."

And how's his relationship with North Dakota?

Amicable, he insists.

Bishop says that he ran into North Dakota assistant coach Dane Jackson in the preseason and the onetime Vancouver Canucks winger from Castlegar said he'd been keeping tabs and was happy Bishop landed with Ohio State.

Keep in mind, of course, that North Dakota is one of the best programs in the U.S., and usually has its pick of recruits.

Also at play here is that Bishop was initially slotted as a 2007-08 freshman for North Dakota, but when a roster spot opened just before last season they bumped him up a year, maybe setting things askew.

"I got a call in July and they asked me if I wanted to come then," says Bishop. "It was kind of a shocker.

"In the end, it wasn't the right fit for me. Basically, it was a combination of the age of the players that were there and the time I felt it would take to get a shot to prove myself.

"I have nothing bad to say about them. The coaches were great and I loved the players there."


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