February 10, 2010
When the Ohio State men’s hockey team takes on Alaska this weekend, forward Hunter Bishop will be facing off against some familiar faces.
The opportunity to play against his hometown team might provide just the spark Bishop needs.
The Fairbanks, Alaska native is highly anticipating this weekend’s series.
“It’s always fun to play against the hometown,” Bishop said. “It’s always easy for me to get amped up for home games, but playing against Alaska will make it a lot easier.”
In last season’s series with Alaska, Bishop scored for the Buckeyes in the Saturday night game en route to a 6-2 victory. Bishop also recorded an assist against the Nanooks in a postseason victory last March. Coach John Markell is hoping for similar offensive production from his junior this weekend and the rest of the season. “Hunter’s got to be a little more productive for us,” Markell said. “His performance has to come up, and he’s capable of doing it.” So far this season, Bishop has recorded eight goals and eight assists for a total of 16 points, but Markell is looking for more from his forward. “He’s one of the guys I’m looking to for leadership,” Markell said. “Hunter is a guy who can really turn it on.” Bishop demonstrated his offensive capabilities last season when he racked up 14 goals and 17 assists.
Bishop developed many of his offensive skills playing on the rink at his house while he was growing up. The rink his father built was complete with boards, flood lights and outdoor speakers. “We definitely had the best outdoor rink in my town,” Bishop said. “Put it this way, I’ve never seen a better one.” It was there that Bishop would spend countless hours working on his shot and playing his sister, Teal. “All the way up until the year I left, we’d both be out there before school,” Bishop said. “And any chance it was above negative 20 [degrees] we would always play one-on-one. She was a defenseman and I was a forward.”
Teal is still a defenseman and now is an assistant captain on the Ohio State women’s hockey team. Her coming to Columbus is one of the factors that brought Hunter here. Bishop originally enrolled at the University of North Dakota when he was offered a scholarship to play hockey. But midway into his first season, Bishop decided it wasn’t the right fit and returned to Alaska. It was then Bishop visited OSU and was instantly hooked. “Teal [being here] was definitely one of the factors, but there was a lot that went into it. Ohio State was one of the first schools who showed interest in me [after leaving North Dakota],” Bishop said. “When I came on my visit, Teal was here, my mom’s family was here and Ohio State has a good hockey program. So when you put it all together it was a really easy decision.” Now both in Columbus, the Bishop siblings have had a chance to reunite.
“It’s nice having him here,” Teal said of Hunter. “During our high school years, first he left, and then I left. We didn’t get to see each other much.” Hunter echoed Teal’s thoughts and added, “We’ve definitely gotten closer living here. We live in apartments right next to each other, so I see her on a daily basis and it’s been really good for us.” The duo will help to lead their respective clubs this weekend as they are both in action. The women’s team travels to Minnesota to play Minnesota-Duluth. The men’s team hosts Alaska at the Schottenstein Center Friday and Saturday at 7:05 pm.