I am currently a professional hockey player splitting time between the Utica Comets (AHL) and the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). In my wildest dreams I did not believe that I would ever play professional. So that’s where we will start. As a underdeveloped immature 16 year old I was cut from my AAA U-16 team. Around this time many of my peers were leaving for prep school or moving away for junior A hockey. With thoughts of quitting, I was lucky enough to find a spot on a Junior B team in my area. There I began to realize what was needed to make it to the next level. I began skating any chance I had (usually by myself) trying to make myself better.
During my senior year of high school while playing U-18 AAA. I applied to D-III and club hockey schools. I found this process incredibly difficult and intimidating. I was told to “email every coach in the country”. This method didn’t produce much success. I was often ignored or directed to assistant coaches who would rarely respond. I didn’t find the perfect fit for me during that year and decided to play a year of junior. I was set to tryout for a junior A team in New Hampshire (formerly the EJHL). I thought I had a very good tryout but was cut once again. I was recruited and signed a tender to play the year in Fresno, California in the NAHL. This was the year I completely committed myself to hockey. Unfortunately I did not receive much attention from scouts as it was much more difficult to do so playing in California even after having a good season. In retrospect, I should have been more proactive about sending out game film etc. I decided I would try my last year of junior. I tried out for a USHL team that June. After what I thought was a good showing was cut again. I was lucky enough to be recruited to play in the EJHL in New Jersey. I hit my stride by Thanksgiving and received a scholarship to attend the University of Vermont. My graduating class at Vermont ended up with the 3rd wins in UVM history while competing in Hockey East against teams like Boston College, Boston University, Providence College, and Umass Lowell.
After college I was still being overlooked and without many options I signed a try-out agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). After 1 pt in my first 14 games, I finished the year 3rd on the team with 53 points.
What drives me? All the people that said I couldn’t do it. I was cut from the U-16, U-18, EJHL, and USHL teams I tried out for from ages 16-20. I use my failures as fuel in the pursuit of my goals. I became obsessed with improvement. Day by day. Week by week. Year by year.