Category: Juniors Features

Trevor Zegras Talks Adjustment to Team USA U17 Hockey, Future at Boston U.

Zegras 3 copy 2      (Photo: Rena Laverty/ USA Hockey)

 

By JACK LeGWIN

Not many get the chance to represent their country playing the sport they love at the age of 16, and Trevor Zegras is not taking the opportunity lightly. Continue reading “Trevor Zegras Talks Adjustment to Team USA U17 Hockey, Future at Boston U.”

Josh Luedtke Discusses Minnetonka Hockey, Heading to Northern Michigan

(Photo: Tom Stretar) 

 

By JACK LeGWIN

Josh Luedtke has been a key cog on the blue line for Minnetonka this year on its way to a 13-1-2 record to start the season, as well as the #1 ranking in the state of Minnesota.

When he was asked about what makes playing defense for Minnetonka a driving force in his development, Luedtke said it was how hard the coaching staff pushes the defensemen to be their best.

“Our defensive coach now tells us that we have to take pride in not being scored on,” Luedtke told BTS Sports on Monday. “Every time we get scored on, he tells us to not take that lightly. We need to take some pride in being D-Men, and not letting them score. At the same time, I do like to get up and contribute some offensively.”

With Minnetonka losing their first game of the season recently, 4-2 to Duluth East, Luedtke said that he believes the loss brought extra motivation for the team moving forward this season.

“I think it was a wake-up call for us for sure,” Luedtke said. “We knew it was going to be very hard to finish the season undefeated. We took it to heart, we got away from our habits, as well as the nature of how we play, we really have to keep working in practice, move forward and use it as motivation for the rest of the season.”

A Northern Michigan commit, Luedtke says his experience on his visits really convinced him that it was the right choice.

“I visited there twice and I really connected with the coaching staff,” Luedtke said. “They  prioritized me first. I had a great bond with them right away. They’re changing to becoming a more fast-paced game and utilizing their hockey sense throughout the game, so that’s a big reason why I decided to commit there.”

Luedtke said that where the Northern Michigan staff really made an impression was how they saw him fitting into their game plan moving forward.

“I think they’re trying to get a lot of fast moving defensemen in that can move the puck,” Luedtke said. “That’s really where I feel like I fit in. They spoke with me about getting the puck out fast, and that’s really where I feel comfortable.”

While Luedtke will be heading to Northern Michigan in the next couple years, he said he is focused on one thing: winning a State Championship.

“It comes down to down to out-competing the teams that we play,” Luedtke said. “It comes down to hard work, and how bad we want it.”

Thanks in part to Luedtke, the Skippers are headed in the right direction to achieve that goal.

Ryan Siedem: Man with a Plan

Siedem  copy.jpg(Photo: Rena Laverty/ USA Hockey)

 

By JACK LeGWIN

Ryan Siedem is achieving his goals one day at a time.

When he received an invitation to try out for the Team USA U17 NTDP (National Team Development Program), Siedem said a big goal that he had been working towards had been reached.  Continue reading “Ryan Siedem: Man with a Plan”

Luke Loheit Finds a Haven in Hockey

 

By JACK LeGWIN

Leadership is vital for a team to be successful, and Luke Loheit is providing just that for a Minnetonka team whose season is off to a strong start.

“It’s awesome for me as a senior,” Loheit said. “I just know I need to be a leader by example–being vocal and communicative with the guys, helping the younger guys adjust. It’s been nice knowing my role as well as helping the other guys learn their roles.”

Heading to Minnesota Duluth (UMD) next year, Loheit stated that he’s focused on making the changes necessary to be successful next year.

“I’m making a lot of simple adjustments in my game,” Loheit said, “learning how to deal with the speed and the physicality of older players and making decisions quicker than I used to. My coaches are helping me to learn how to do that as well as are my teammates.”

Unlike many other high school sports, hockey players are known for committing on the earlier side of the timeline. Loheit recalls that he enjoyed getting the decision over sooner rather than later.

“I think it takes a lot of pressure off,” Loheit said. “The whole process is stressful for sure. It’s a good stress though. I also think that some guys feel that pressure of performing after they commit. People on the outside have expectations for how they should play, which could be some added stress. I’ve personally found it less stressful though. It’s nice to have it off your shoulders so you can focus on high school hockey.”

Loheit expressed how his wanting to play close to home factored into his commitment to UMD.

“My decision was very hard,” Loheit said. “I had offers from Denver and Wisconsin. I went to Denver the weekend before I committed, and the visit was really nice. But I came home thinking about my family, and how important they are to me. Having an opportunity to play 2-3 hours from home, that really came into play. I can come home and see my family, see my friends. It was a big deciding factor for me. I’m really happy with my decision.”

Sports can create a getaway for athletes through difficult times, and the game of hockey is a special haven for Loheit for a multitude of reasons.

“It’s an unbelievable sport,” Loheit explained. “It makes me realize how fortunate I am. After a tough day, whether it’s because of a hard day at school, or anything like that, you’re able to go to the rink and take all of it all off your shoulders. It’s what your coaches tell you to do when you were growing up, which is to have fun, be with your buddies and build relationships. It’s my escape every day.”

Loheit currently has 11 goals and 12 assists through 16 games with a +21 rating for the Skippers, and is a C Rated prospect in the NHL Central Scouting’s “Preliminary Players to Watch” for the NHL Draft this coming spring.

Blake McLaughlin: Hard Work Pays Off

mclaughlin_webPhoto: Dan Hickling/ Hickling Images

 

By JACK LeGWIN

It’s all about winning for Blake McLaughlin. 

Having scored 36 points (17G- 19A) through 27 games for the Chicago Steel, the fast rising University of Minnesota commit has led the Chicago Steel to a 16-12-1 record heading into a three game series in three days this weekend. Continue reading “Blake McLaughlin: Hard Work Pays Off”

Jack DeBoer Talks USA Hockey, Commitment to Boston U

DeBoer 3_preview
(Photo: Rena Laverty/ USA Hockey)

BY JACK LeGWIN

A key cog in Team USA U18 NTDP (National Team Development Program’s) success this year, Jack DeBoer says he thinks he knows why things have been running so smoothly recently for a team that has won six of their last seven games. Continue reading “Jack DeBoer Talks USA Hockey, Commitment to Boston U”