Former Thunderbirds blueliner commits to North Dakota

Tyler Dunbar is expected to join the University of North Dakota hockey team for the 2022-23 college hockey season

By: Brad Coccimiglio
Soo Today

Former Soo Thunderbirds defenceman, and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. product, Tyler Dunbar has committed to the University of North Dakota.

Dunbar is slated to join the UND hockey program beginning in 2022.

“Being from up there, I kind of got an unbiased opinion of all the colleges,” Dunbar said in an interview with the Grand Forks Herald. “I got to experience everything equally. My heart wasn’t pulling me in a certain direction when I was looking for a school.”

Dunbar’s father Alan served as an assistant coach at Lake Superior State for three seasons from 1998 to 2001 while his mother Kris held many different roles at the school as well, serving as head coach of the women’s basketball team for eight years from 1998 to 2006. In the spring of 2006, she was named LSSU’s director of athletics, a position she held until 2017.

In a prepared statement, Dunbar said he chose North Dakota “because of the great history and tradition there.”

“It’s something special to be a part of and I look forward to joining their team, which has had such great success in the past,” Dunbar added. “They have everything a young hockey player needs to develop and grow.”

Dunbar spent the second half of last season with the United States Hockey League’s Muskegon Lumberjacks.

“He’s an up-and-coming, high-end defenseman,” Muskegon coach Mike Hamilton told the Herald. “Dunzy skates really well. He’s very offensive. He’s still growing. This summer, he came back, he packed on some pounds and we’re really looking for him to take strides in all areas of his game. He’s a quiet, hard-working kid who is going to bring some offense. His defensive side is not weak by any means. He’s a young player who is adjusting to playing against men in our league.”

As a 16-year-old, Dunbar scored two goals and 12 points in 26 games with Muskegon after starting the year with the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Thunderbirds.

With the Thunderbirds, Dunbar had five goals and 24 points in 33 games before the Christmas break. Prior to making the jump to Jr. A, Dunbar spent the 2018-19 season in the Great North Midget League with the Soo Thunderbirds minor midget club.

Dunbar is slated to play with the Lumberjacks again this season.

The team is preparing for pre-season action, which is slated to open up on Friday night.