When was the first time you put on skates?
I don’t really remember the first time I was in skates but I do remember my first game. It wasn’t really a game, it was more like 10 kids on the ice versus 10 other kids and we were going at it but I don’t remember the first time I was ever in skates, maybe when I was like two or three.
How has the hockey community in Arizona changed since you started playing?
I think it’s changed drastically. With all the age groups, you go to the rink and watch the kids play and instead of being teams that were looked down upon in previous years, they’re now teams that you have to watch out for that are always going to compete to be playing at a national level at the end of the year.
We have 3 Arizona guys in our organization (Forward Erik Middendorf, Equipment Manager Parker Hoffman) and I think there are four or five others in the league that are from Arizona, so just that impact alone has been huge, I think, for younger kids seeing what they can do out of Arizona.
For your first season in the USHL, has this year been what you expected?
Going into the season, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform but our teammates and coaching staff take that pressure away from you and you have to realize that. The guys in this league are so much smarter, you just kind of have to change your game but preseason gives you enough time to slowly figure things out. Other than that, it was pretty much what I expected coming into the year.
You scored a goal in the Cotton Bowl this season, is that your favorite individual moment of the season?
That play’s got to stand out to me the most just because of the game that we were playing and where we were. It was the first goal of the game and kind of unexpected, I missed the first shot. It felt good to get one right out of the Holiday break too.
It was your first season playing away from home, was there anyone who really helped you with the transition?
I think not just one guy, everyone in the organization’s been so big in making it feel like a family here and you don’t even realize you’re away from home because of them. Throughout the day, you’re with them all day long and you’re never upset about being there, you’re always happy to be with them and at the rink.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of playing hockey?
Probably hang out with friends on the team and then video games, golf and other sports. I’ve always loved golf and baseball, I played baseball in Arizona until I was like 13 or 14. I played shortstop and catcher.
Did you like playing in the field or hitting better?
I was probably better in the field honestly, I just love playing in the field more, I just didn’t want to get hit by a pitch. I kind of feel like it’s just always in the back of your head, getting smoked by a pitch. I’m probably more scared of getting hit by a pitch than blocking a shot just because I’ve got way more padding on.