First off, the USHL is featured in USA Today. Also, they printed another article to go along with that one here. It's excellent for the USHL to get spotlighted in USA Today. Here are some interesting quotes I took from the articles:
When defenseman Luke Lucyk of Fox Point, Wis., was drafted at 16 by the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League in 2002, he remembers thinking, "What kind of team is that, and what is it doing in Kearney, Nebraska?"
On his first visit, he noticed every car seemed to be damaged. "We're thinking, 'This looks like a rough area — I don't know if I want to be here' " Lucyk says, laughing, "but come to find out, they had gone through a hail storm with softball-sized hail."
Before joining the Lincoln Stars, center Carter Camper of Rocky River, Ohio, remembers a former USHL player tried to tell him how fast the league is and how exciting the games are. "But you have to see it to believe it," Camper says.
"At times you are really pressed," Ryan says. "But it teaches you to manage your time. If you stay up late because you didn't manage your time well, then it carries over to your practice the next day. If you don't practice well, you don't play well. It's a chain reaction."
"The road trips are the best part of playing here," says Tri-City Storm forward Alex Hudson, a third-year player out of Corona, Calif. "It's where you bond."
Notre Dame's Jackson, who also coached in the Ontario Hockey League, believes the USHL's top teams would be competitive if they moved to the OHL.
Clearly, the USHL players have pride in their league. "Actually I think this league is just as good, if not better, than most (Canadian) Major Junior," Tri-City player Tristin Llewellyn says.
Llewellyn says the USHL "has to be the fastest league in North America." He says when he trains with OHL players or in Calgary with Western Hockey League players, what those players see as "their fastest speed seems average to me."Littler says he gives Lucyk credit for his willingness to take a step back to go forward: "He had to swallow his pride, but when he looked at it, it was a no-brainer. He was going back to play a 60- to 70-game schedule to improve his game, and he's going to graduate from Notre Dame. It's a win-win situation for everyone."
Junior Hockey Blog gives an update on the new arena in Rapid City.
Waterloo defensemen Brett Barta has committed to St. Cloud State University for, I assume, 2007 season.
Green Bay sends a pair to Minnesota State University-Mankato. Defensemen Kurt Davis and Baylor Dieter have verballed to play for the Mavericks in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Davis is having a breakout year for the Gamblers and should help anchor the Mav's blue line come next fall. There is a story on the MSU Blog and from the Gamblers site.
“If you’d asked me a year ago if I would be (committing) to St. Cloud I’d have said ‘Yeah, right’,” said Barta, who previously tried out in Lincoln and later was going to play with Cedar Rapids before hooking on with Waterloo.
“My dad supported my decision financially to go to Bozeman and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I went skiing and fly-fishing and I learned about the outdoors. I wouldn’t be where I am without that. All I wanted was a shot, and for that I’m thankful from the bottom of my heart.”
Western College Hockey Blog reports that Josh Levine, who is on Green Bay's affiliate list, has committed to Princeton University for 2008.
A story from NHL.com focusing on the league's young defensemen. The story mentions former USHL players Matt Carle (Omaha), Matt Greene (Green Bay), and David Hale (Sioux City).
“My dad always said, ‘You have to see this new kid, he really stands out.’ And just skating with Matt in the summer, he’s just a great kid,” fellow Alaskan Scott Gomez said. “He’s going to be one of the best in the league. I’m dead honest. He’s the real deal. Plus he’s from Alaska, which makes him 10 times better.
“He was the best college player there for a couple of years,” Gomez said. “He’s definitely the Rookie of the Year. Well, in my eyes. What he’s doing, I think, is pretty awesome.”“I sat right next to Stevens and just to see what he would go through, his routines and this and that. He would, you know, pull us aside and used top give us a piece of information about each player we were playing against that night, and it’s something I never really thought of doing before I got here,” Hale said. “It was just one of the many pieces of information that I got out of him.”
Tampa's Fedotenko used to proving skeptics wrong.
Fedotenko, whose value was questioned at the time the trade was made, paid dividends for Tampa. Immensely popular with his teammates for his sunny disposition and work ethic, Fedotenko boosted his goal total to 19 his first year with Tampa and then had his big playoff run the next year.
Former Sioux Falls Stampede player Chad LaRose races to the century mark.
Former Green Bay Gamblers, Sean Backman and Matt Case, garner league honors.
I have a couple more, but those will be coming in another entry shortly.