Being back for my fourth year is bittersweet. Feels like yesterday I was 16-years old just coming into the league with Seamus Malone and Dylan Gambrell. When I came into this league I was sitting next to guys born in 1992. Now I sit next to guys that were born in 1999.
I’ve taken the road less traveled and it has made me appreciate the exciting parts of junior hockey that much more. My first year started out on a high note by winning the Anderson Cup and the Clark Cup. I quickly learned how hard it is to win a championship and how you only get so many chances at it. Coming into this year I wanted to cherish every moment with the boys and help pass along my experiences to the rookies.
I came into this year not knowing what to expect with the new teammates and staff members. Turns out we bonded quickly and after a couple weeks it seemed as if we had been together for an extended period of time.
Coming into this year I had to move in with a new roommate by the name of Dallas Gerads, which I was nervous about at first. Good thing he knew Adam “MO” Morrison from last year and we became close right away.
I also wanted to have a great last year with my best buddy Shane Kavanagh. It is our third and final year together and we are making the most of it. All of this helped get the ball rolling for a good last year of juniors.
As the first games of the year rolled around I found myself having to come up with new comebacks for the chirp, “you’ve been in the league for four years.” Thankfully, our goalie Hunter Miska has played juniors for five years, so I politely tell them to go down to the other end of the ice and make fun of him instead of me. (Miska and I are closing in on our 200th junior hockey game.)
Other than that the team has been coming together quickly as we get used to our new style of play.
We have had a really good start to the year and hopefully we can keep it going. We have a lot of experience including USHL, NAHL, and BCHL veterans that keep the team going. To go along with the veterans on the team, we have a lot of young energetic guys that are excited to make their mark in the league. That combination is what every team needs in order to be successful in the USHL.
I am excited for what the future holds for this team, and can’t wait to keep going on my last journey through junior hockey. From year one to year four I have grown as a player and as a person. I remember all of the guys I’ve played with over the years that have helped me along the way. I have learned so much from coaches and teammates, and I will continue to enjoy every last minute of my time in the USHL.
Hopefully, I end my junior career the way I started it.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.