2006-07 season: As the youngest player to ever don an Alaska Nanooks jersey, Dion Knelsen enjoyed an outstanding freshman year that was capped with being named a CCHA All-Rookie Team honorable mention and receiving Alaska’s Doug Desorcie Award as the top rookie. The Three Hills, AB native led the Nanooks in rookie scoring with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists). In April, Knelsen participated in the IIHF U-18 World Championships in Finland as a member of Team Canada.
Talent AnalysisKnelsen is a highly intelligent player that sees, thinks and understands the game extremely well. However, what separates him from many other collegiate players is how well he knows the players he plays with and against. What makes it even more remarkable is the fact that Knelsen is able to take that knowledge and use it to his benefit. One asset that immediately stands out about Knelsen are his superb hands. He has great poise and patience with the puck and moves extremely well with it. Knelsen also possesses excellent on-ice vision and as good as his sense of awareness is, his ability to exploit open spaces is even better. His low center of gravity combined with his quickness and mobility allows him to move efficiently through traffic, often making him a difficult player to contain. As Knelsen's development progresses, so will the skills that he can bring to his team.
(Now former) Alaska head coach Tavis MacMillan's comments on Knelsen: "Maturity-wise, Dion is way beyond his years. You can talk to him as a coach about coaching things because he understands and sees the game that well. Off the ice and in the classroom, Dion has been special. He's one of those kids that you don't have to tell him what to work on because he just does it. Dion will make it because he wants it and he knows how to get there."