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Alaska Anchorage sophomore forward Mason Mitchell has given up his final two seasons of eligibility and signed a two-year, free-agent contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

Mitchell will join the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, on an amateur tryout agreement for the rest of the 2016-17 season.

“When we first recruited Mason Mitchell, I thought (the NHL) was the destination for him,” UAA coach Matt Thomas told the Alaska Dispatch News. “He was big, he was fast, he was mean. He didn’t just hit guys. He went through them.”

“It’s surreal,” Mitchell added. “It hasn’t fully hit me yet.’

“I did as much as I could in the last half, and it worked out. You always think, ‘Am I fully ready?’ But it’s not too often you get a (NHL) contract presented to you.”

This past season, Mitchell scored a team-best 12 goals among 14 points in 31 games and also added 73 penalty minutes.

“We lost a dominant power forward that brings speed and toughness, and team toughness — and I’m not just talking about hitting, he’s just tough for other teams to handle,” Thomas said.

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