The next time you go to an ice rink mention the words “three on three hockey” and wait for the reaction.
If you are sitting/standing next to a hockey parent, odds are very good he or she will have a strong reaction upon hearing those words. Some will tell you how they loved watching their eight-year-old develop as a player by playing the half ice games that consist of three skaters and a goalie on each side while others will say that the concept is ruining hockey.
In 2009, USA Hockey introduced the idea of cutting the rink in half in order to give youngsters a game that is more suited for their skill levels much the same as Little League baseball and other sports have their young athletes play on smaller fields to correlate with their age, size, and strength levels, while learning how to play the game.
The three on three cross ice hockey game has been around longer than six years. Ironically, it has been used by high school, midget, junior, college, and professional coaches to help their players become quicker skaters, along with better stick handlers, passers and shooters.
Three years ago, High End Hockey founder and owner Jon Hutcheon came up with idea of organizing a three on three summer league for professional, college, and midget/high school players with the focus on skill development and while there are those who do not want to admit that small area games will not benefit their 8-year-old, those who play in the HEH summer league beg to differ.
Joe Whitney is one of those players.
Whitney was an offensive force during his four years at Boston College, amassing 142 points in 161 collegiate games. He moved on to the pro ranks in 2011 when he signed with the New Jersey Devils, who sent him to their American Hockey League affiliate, Albany Devils. In four seasons with Albany, Whitney produced 208 points in 277 games. Whitney has also seen action in five NHL games with New Jersey, however, this past July, he bid adieu to the Devils and signed a two year contract with the New York Islanders.
With the numbers Whitney has put up and a new contract, one might think he would spend his summers in the gym and begin skating just prior to heading off to training camp, but he has become a High End Hockey 3 vs 3 League mainstay.
“This is my third year of playing 3 on 3 hockey and it’s the best thing I do all summer,” said Whitney, who is a native of Reading, Massachusetts. “It’s a lot of fun. There are a lot of good guys down here and it’s a good hour and fifteen minutes of making plays and scoring goals. We’re trying to expand a little. It’s (reputation of the High End Hockey 3 vs 3 league) out there and these next couple of years, it should be stronger. We had four teams this year (in the pro division) and had a lot of good pro and college players, so I think it will grow next year and we’ll get more teams with quality players.”
“I think it’s good because you play on the half ice. It’s (the game) is in tight (areas) and you get a lot of touches of the puck and a lot of chances to score, which a player needs to work on so all in all, it’s been a good experience. I look forward to next years because High End Hockey does a very good job of organizing the league up.”
Steve Whitney followed his brother Joe to Boston College, where he posted 128 points in 162 games. After graduating, Three years ago, Steve signed with the Anaheim Ducks and was assigned to the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. He will return to Norfolk this season to ply his skills for the Admirals, which has become a member of the ECHL. A swift and agile skater, the 24-year-old forward uses 3 vs 3 hockey to improve his skating skills.
”I definitely love coming down and getting a little three on three in,” Steve said. “It’s only half ice and everything happens pretty quickly. You gotta think pretty quickly, make your play right away. It really helps with your reactions and skating, such as tight turns.”
Will O’Neill patrolled the blue line for the Winnipeg Jets AHL team, St. John’s IceCaps, for the last three-plus years, where he accumulated 107 points in 206 games. In July, he became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. O’Neill spent the summer preparing for his first camp with Malkin, Crosby, and the rest of the Pens, by playing 3 vs 3 hockey.
”It’s good to out there in a tight area,” said O’Neill, a native of Salem, Massachusetts. “In cross ice areas, you get a lot of touches of the puck and you’re playing against good players with good goalies. You get a lot of shots and a lot of (scoring) chances. It’s good to be out there. Jon Hutcheon does a really good job organizing it. All in all, it’s good hockey, a lot of fun, and we’re looking to expand to six teams next year.”
Like the Whitneys, Conor Sheary, is another member of the NCAA’s 100 point club. He produced 104 points in 138 games during his four years at the University of Massachusetts. Sheary completed his first full season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate last season, where in 60 career games, he has registered 45 points but the postseason has been the Sheary show. His 23 points in 23 playoff games has made the brass in Pittsburgh sit up and take notice of the 23-year-old forward.
Despite his offensive accomplishments, Sheary has become a High End Hockey 3 vs 3 veteran in order to improve his puck handling abilities.
”This is my third year in the league,” the hard shooting forward said. “I liken it to a really good skill session. You get to skate on a half ice rink and move the puck around a little bit. Work on your hands in tight areas. It was good competition with the four teams filled with pro guys and college guys.”
As one might imagine, there is plenty of offense in a small area game and goaltenders see a constant barrage of pucks come their way but former Hockey East star netminder, Clay Witt, likes the action.
”It replicates game situations like three on ones and two on ones,” explained Witt, who will stop pucks for the Utica Comets of the AHL this coming season. “It’s high tempo, you get a lot of scoring chances so, if you can stop at least 75 percent of those, I think you’re going to be good for the season. Like the other guys said, this level of hockey is high and you always want to make those important saves against those guys.”
And there you have it.
Some youth hockey parents may object to 3 vs 3 small area games but those who have risen to the game’s highest levels are proof that not only is it a concept that is past due, It develops players and it is here to stay.
What’s that you say? These players are good but you won’t be convinced until an NHL player talks about small area games, particularly 3 vs 3.
Look at what Harry Zolnierczyk of the Anaheim Ducks has to say, “I love this. Great competition. Great fun. It’s a great way to work on your game in tight areas. Next summer, I’ll bring enough NHL and AHL guys to fill two new teams.”
Stevie Moses has been a goal scorer for every team he has played for, from the Boston Junior Bruins, to the University of New Hampshire, to Jokerit in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League but, like every kid who laces on a pair of skates, the native of Leominster, Massachusetts, has always dreamed of scoring goals in the National Hockey League.
After taking a somewhat circuitous route, Moses will get that opportunity this season with the Nashville Predators, who signed the winger to a one year contract, shortly after he scored what has become known as The Goal of the 2015 IIHF World Championships. A backhand goal vs Finland that went viral soon after he scored it.
Moses completed his college career in 2012. It was a career that saw him score 47 goals and 98 points in 148 games. That type of production would see him continue his career in the American Hockey League.
“I signed an ATO (Amateur Tryout contract) with the (New York) Rangers to play for the Connecticut Whale in the AHL to get some games in,” Moses said. “I learned a lot. There were some ups and downs the whole time I was there. You realize it’s a business and I remember some long bus trips and times I’d practice with the team and travel with them, and then not play in the games, so you learn a lot in that short period of time.”
After his brief stint in the AHL and with an NHL lockout looming on the horizon, Moses decided to accept an offer from Jokerit to play in Finland’s top professional league, the Finnish Elite League.
“My agents did a really good job and the hockey world kind of knew the NHL lockout was coming that following season, so I had the opportunity to go to Jokerit, which was one of the premier organizations in Finland,” Moses explained. “Jarmo Kekalainen, who is the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, was running the show there (Jokerit) at that time and he kind of went out on a limb for me and offered me a contract to go there, and it was a really good opportunity for me, and it really worked out, so, that’s how I ended up over there.”
“That first year was during the NHL lockout so we wound up having Erik Karlsson and Valteri Filppula. Two guys who were already NHL stars. They were on our team from the beginning so I remember being around them and I played on a line with Val (Filppula) and his brother, Ilari, who’s a great Finnish player, so I was lucky enough to be able to play with some really great players, who made it pretty easy for me to adjust and I gained confidence and started feeling good about myself, and the role the coaches gave me, certainly made the adjustment easier.”
During Moses’ second season in Finland the team announced it was joining the KHL and would begin play the following season.
The announcement led to some uncertainty and Jokerit struggled through its final season in the Finnish Elite League but a new general manager took the reins and put together a team that successfully entered play in its new league.
“During my second year in Jokerit, they announced the team would be were moving from the Finnish Elite League to the KHL, so that was a little bit of a bumpy road for the organization and the players that were involved,” the 26-year-old winger said. “Nobody knew who would be back or what the team would look like the following year so that caused kind of a down year for the organization. We didn’t have a great year and I struggled as well, A lot of that had to do with the uncertainty of going to the KHL also Kekalainen had left to go to Columbus and they (Jokerit) hired Jari Kurri, who is a Finnish legend, and he did a really nice job of building a new team. The team that joined the KHL only had five players that played on that Finnish Elite League team the previous season and I was lucky enough to be offered a new contract by Kurri so I was very happy and honored to move to the KHL with team.”
“Right from the get go, both from an individual standpoint and for the team, we made a pretty seamless transition and started winning games right away.”
That seamless transition for Moses opened the eyes of NHL scouts as he started scoring goals in bunches. The speedy winger finished his first season in the KHL as the circuit’s leading goal scorer with 36 lamplighters. His efforts earned him a spot on Team USA in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championships, from which, Moses and his teammates brought home bronze medals. Soon after, Moses realized his dream when he signed his first NHL contract with the Nashville Predators.
“When I left (for Finland), I had told my agents my dream was to play in the NHL and I didn’t shy away from that,” Moses said. “When people asked me, while I was playing in Europe, I always said I was happy to be there and enjoyed my time there but the goal was always to come back and probably half way through last season in the KHL, I was having some success and leading the league in goals and we started to hear from some NHL teams and then the momentum started to move forward and it looked like it might become a reality. As the season went along, we spoke with several teams and we, my agents and I, tried to put us in the best position that I could be successful in because I’m not going to be an 18-year-old rookie with time to develop, I’m going to need to be a guy who can come in and play, or not, but Nashville was the organization that I thought was going to give me a chance and that’s all you can ask for so, it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to.”
Moses also received a little help from one of his Team USA teammates.
“I played in the World Championships with Seth Jones, who’s been a big part of the (Predators) organization,” said Moses. “I think he’s going to be one of the best defensemen in the league for a long time. He’s an incredible talent so I got to know him as a player and as a person and he speaks highly of all the guys in that dressing room, and I’ve heard from people outside the organization such as Bobby Butler, we were teammates at UNH, and everyone has said that locker room has a core of really good guys and Shea Weber’s one of the better captains in the league. I don’t know a lot of those guys personally, I’ve heard good things about the room and the people in there so, I’m definitely looking forward to getting to know those guys.”
“They (Nashville) have a lot of good players, and coming into training camp, I expect to go in and play and that’s why I chose that organization,” Moses explained. “There were other organizations that I spoke with but with the direction that Nashville is going right now, it’s an up and coming market that has had good teams the last couple of seasons and I like the structure that they play. They’ve got a chance to win and that’s how that came about.”
Like all players entering their first NHL training camps, the rookie has set high expectations for himself.
“My expectation is to play and to be successful but, obviously, I’m cautiously optimistic, I would say,” Moses revealed. “I know I have to go and perform well enough to be successful. Nothing’s going to be given to me but I feel that I have a good chance.”
For Preds fans wondering what to expect from the Massachusetts native, Moses describes his style of play.
“I try to be humble and be a good teammate,” Moses said. “I try to bring some excitement to the game and create offense. I like to shoot the puck and have been able to score goals earlier in my career, hopefully, that will transfer to the next level so I’m going to try to play the same I always do, fast paced, get a lot of shots, and create offense, and at the same time, try not to be too much of a liability, defensively.”
Predators General Manager David Poile sees that, and more, in Moses.
“In Steve, we saw a player with great speed and goal scoring ability,” Poile said in an email to HEHJ. “We believe his style of play fits in well with the Predators system and makes us a more dangerous team offensively.”
A more dangerous team that is adding a humble athlete, who is part of a group of athletes that is known for its sincerity when interacting with fans and it is easy to see why that may be true when the topic turns to those who have influenced them and Moses, like all hockey players, does not hesitate to answer when asked who has been the most influential people throughout his hockey career.
“First and foremost, has been my father (Steve Sr.),” Moses said with pride. “He’s been right next to me the whole way and has supported me. My whole family has but he’s been an unbelievable influence. He’s been at every game and watching every game he couldn’t get to. He’s also the first person I call after every game. We have a pretty special relationship.”
“Of course, there were other people I played with, and for, growing up. I played for Chris and Peter Masters with the Boston Jr. Bruins and I stay in touch with them, and obviously, the guys at UNH, coach (Dick) Umile and coach (Scott) Borek. I learned a lot from them and, of course, from others throughout the course of my career and now, with Jon Hutcheon, I can come here (High End Hockey), skate and work out. That goes a long way for a lot of us, who, as you get older, you don’t have those summer camps or tournaments but you still need to work on your game and I try to get on the ice as much as I can and it’s been a big help to come here.”
“There’s been a lot of people during the course of my career that I have to thank but like I said, in the beginning, it’s really your family and for me, my father and mother (Tammy) have been unbelievable.”
As an undrafted college star, “unbelievable” may be the best word to describe Steve Moses’ journey from New England to Nashville where he will, no doubt, fulfill Poile’s words.
Written by: Shawn Hutcheon (High End Hockey Journal)
Quick, name three of the hardest shooters in the NHL. No doubt, you mentioned Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara, Nashville Predator Shea Weber, and/or Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin.
Known to possess the hardest shots in the league, all three have certainly raised the pulse of a goaltender, or two, when the puck is about to be released off their sticks. And when one of those shots elludes a netminder, you can hear people ask, “How does a player shoot a puck that hard?”
Like any other hockey skill, shooting a puck with velocity and accuracy is not something someone is born to do. It takes practice. A lot of proper practice.
And that is where High End Hockey and TSR Hockey come in.
High End Hockey is headquartered at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, Massachusetts and trains players from mites to NHL players with the sole goal of giving them the tools to improve their games.
TSR Hockey has been the premier hockey retailer in New England since 2000 and has locations in New Hampshire (Salem, Concord, Hooksett) and Massachusetts (Haverhill, Lawrence, North Andover).
Since players who participate in High End Hockey’s programs have also been customers of TSR Hockey, it made sense to HEH owner Jon Hutcheon, and TSR owner Brendan Sheehy, to team up and present a program that would help hockey players improve their puck shooting skills.
“This is our third year of the 5000 Shot Challenge, a summer program where a player has 12 weeks to shoot 5000 pucks,” explained TSR Hockey’s Marketing Manager, Julie Dalton, who not only works in hockey but also plays on a women’s team named, The Ms. Conducts. “It’s (5000 Shot Challenge) sponsored by Bauer. Years ago, Brendan Sheehy’s father worked at Bauer so they (Bauer) donate whatever their newest stick is and we do prizes throughout the course of the event. We have ‘Sniper of the Week’ where a participant is awarded a $15.00 gift card to TSR and a 30-minute shooting lesson at High End Hockey and even if you’re not chosen for Sniper of the Week, you still get a t-shirt for participating.”
“The goal is to keep kids shooting all summer to get them stronger and more accurate shots. There’s no cost to join and the benefit to TSR is creating a community event for kids to join and stay active and it brings people back in to turn in their sheets, which charts their progress. One of our goals at TSR is to be like the old TV show, Cheers, where everybody knows your name. We’re a community store and very much like a family.”
The history between High End Hockey, TSR, and Dalton herself, go back a few years which made it the proverbial, no brainer, that HEH and TSR work together on the venture this summer.
“Over the last couple of years, Jon (Hutcheon) has coached my sons, my daughter, and myself, on the ice and in shooting lessons, so it was through that relationship that everyone agreed that HEH should be involved in the Challenge,” Dalton said.
“He’s (Hutcheon) enthusiastic and provides us with weekly shooting videos. He makes it fun because he works with players of all ages, youth to adults. He makes the Challenge relatable. His videos show how to execute the different shots and also shows college and pro players, who train with him, properly shooting pucks. As an added bonus, if a Sniper of the Week doesn’t live within the area, he films a video, specifically, for that player, so for all of those reasons, it’s a win/win situation for all involved.”
As the owner of High End Hockey, Hutcheon is very happy to have HEH engaged in the 5000 Shot Challenge but, more importantly, as a coach, he believes in the program.
“We became involved this year and really like being able to teach the techniques of shooting to players of all ages,” said Hutcheon, who coached the 2013 18-Under Neponset Valley River Rats to the USA Hockey Tier I national championship. “We have a large synthetic shooting area at Breakaway Ice Center, where we conduct our lessons and since kids love to shoot pucks, they really enjoy learning the techniques that will give them more accurate and harder shots, which should result in their scoring more goals when the season begins.”
Hutcheon is also excited about the popularity of the videos.
“The Video of the Week gets posted to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook each week and we’ve received great feedback from players and parents,” Hutcheon continued. “They’ve been fun to film and the players, who participate in them like Maury Edwards (UMass Lowell/Straubing, German Elite League), Pat Mullane (Boston College/Assat, Finland SM Liga), Joe Whitney (Boston College/New York Islanders), and Brian Dumoulin (Boston College/Pittsburgh Penguins), among others, have been great and we really appreciate their cooperation.”
Hutcheon revealed there is more to come.
“After the 5000 Shot Challenge is completed, we’re planning on continuing with the videos and expanding them to include instruction in hockey’s other skills such as skating, puck handling, passing and many more aspects of the game.”
It is clear that the HEH/TSR Hockey 5000 Shot Challenge is, not only demanding, but educational and fun.
What better way to learn about shooting a puck than from a national championship winning coach and professional players on your computer screen, then going out and applying what you have just learned. Not to mention, the prizes you can win for participating.
If you have not started the Challenge, it is not too late to start, just go to tsrhockey.com and click on 5000 Shot Challenge and do not forget to watch the videos on HighEndHockey.com or by following on Twitter at @HighEndHockey.
Ok, so, who will be hockey’s next hardest shooter?
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a tendency to trade away draft picks, season after season. Given this tendency, their farm system is running out of promising young players. Most prospects are in the NHL at this point or looking to move up within a season or two.
With the lack of draft picks, it’s been surprising to see the Penguins not place any more emphasis on scoutingundrafted college and international players.
But the Pittsburgh Penguins might have to send waves of praise to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins during the upcoming season.
Who is Conor Sheary?
The 22 year-old forward is rather unknown to most Penguins fans. He played his college hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and never produced at more than a point-per-game rate.
After graduation,Sheary eventually signed a tryout agreementwith the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, played in the final two regular season games of the 2013-2014 season and was held off the score sheet. Then in 15 playoff contests, Sheary produced 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) and was a +4 skater.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton decided to bring Sheary back and in his first full AHL season, he played in 58 games, scored 20 goals, assisted on 25 more and was a +8 skater. Then during 8 playoff contests, Sheary produced 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) for the baby Penguins.
That brings us to the present and Sheary will now look to earn a spot on the Pittsburgh Penguins roster during training camp.
Why was he not drafted?
The Penguins, like every other team, passed on Sheary four years in a row. He never was an offensive star in college and the biggest problem was his size. Sheary is 5’9″ and just 161 lbs.
But despite his small stature, Sheary is not afraid of playing defense. He tries to model his game after the three-time Selke trophy winner Pavel Datsyuk.
Sheary also is not one to shy away from contact, during the baby Penguins game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals he knocked the 6’4″ 200lb defenseman Kevin Gravel into the bench.
Despite being a smaller player, Sheary’s incredible hockey IQ allows him to find ways to compensate for lack of size. He’s a lightning fast forward who seems to who honed his scoring touch.
Despite standing at 5’8″ and 183 lbs, Johnson leads the league with 12 goals and you guessed it, he was an undrafted free agent as well. While Johnson produced more offensively during his final years in the AHL, he was a more complete player to begin with.
From all reports, Sheary is a tireless worker who continually wants to get better and has dedicated himself to being the best player he can.
Before you think that Sheary is too small to make it into the NHL, look at Tyler Johnson, look at Martin St. Louis.
Small and quick forwards have proven to have value in the NHL. I’d go so far as to argue that being an “undersized” player is an advantage in the modern NHL.
Nashville, Tenn. (April 9, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has signed free-agent forward Steve Moses to a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2015-16 season.
Moses, 25 (8/9/89), set the Kontinental Hockey League goal-scoring record in 2014-15, netting 36 goals in 60 games for Jokerit (Helsinki, Finland) during the club’s inaugural season in the Russia-based league. The 2015 KHL All-Star also tied for seventh in KHL points this season (36g-21a-57pts, 60gp), helping Jokerit to a 40-win campaign. The Leominster, Mass., native spent his first two professional seasons with Jokerit, then in the Finnish Elite League, in 2012-13 and 2013-14, amassing 61 points (34g-27a) in 97 games. In 2012-13, Moses led the league in game-winning goals (7), and paced all rookies in goals (22).
The 5-9, 172-pound winger played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire from 2008-12, recording 98 points (47g-51a) in 148 collegiate games, including 22 goals in 37 games as a senior in 2011-12, which ranked him among the Top 15 in the NCAA. Moses played his junior hockey with the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL from 2005-08.
BOSTON – Adding to his list of accolades for the 2014-15 season, Jimmy Vesey has been named the winner of the Walter Brown Award, as announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston on March 24.
The Walter Brown Award is handed out to New England's best American-born Division I college hockey player, and Vesey is the 11th Harvard hockey player to win the award, and the first since Dov Grumet-Morris in 2005.
The nation's oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 by the members of the 1933 Massachusetts Rangers, the first American team ever to win the World Championship Tournament. Brown coached the Rangers to the title in Prague, Czechoslovakia, that year; the team defeated Canada 2-1 in overtime in the championship game.
Vesey finished first in the final balloting just ahead of Boston University freshman Jack Eichel (North Chelmsford, MA). Support for the other 18 Walter Brown Award semifinalists was broadly diversified; Vesey and Eichel, who are both among the ten finalists for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award, received all of the first- and second-place votes.
Vesey earns the award after winning both the ECAC and Ivy League Player of the Year awards, and was a first team all-league selection in both the ECAC and Ancient Eight. The winger paces the country in goals (31) and goals per game (0.86) and is second nationally in points per game (1.58). He was also selected to the ECAC All-Academic Team.
"Jimmy is a great player who has had a tremendous season. He has been incredibly consistent offensively, leading the country in goals scored, and has been relied upon in all key situations," said Harvard head coach Ted Donato. "Jimmy has also established himself as a team leader both on and off the ice. He is very deserving of this prestigious award and we are very proud of him."
The North Reading, Massachusetts native led Harvard to victory at the ECAC Tournament with a tournament-record nine postseason goals, and to its first NCAA Tournament Appearance since 2006.
Harvard will take on Nebraska-Omaha in South Bend, Indiana, at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the campus of Notre Dame on Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be telecast live on ESPN3 and via the WatchESPN app.
If you watched Tousignant play without knowing him off the ice, it could be hard to like him. It’s difficult to think of a game this season that Tousignant was in the lineup for where he wasn’t under someone’s skin on the other team.
That player recently was Troy Bodie, a 6-foot-4-inch, bruising winger for the Toronto Marlies, who scrapped with Tousignant in the March 14 game at the Civic Center. Tousignant, who stands at just 5-foot-11, once again fought with a bigger player than himself and held his own.
“I really love the game, the way I play it,” Tousignant said. “Getting under other team’s skin, I just love it. I don’t think I have too many friends outside of my team, but I love that type of play.”
That’s not to say Tousignant is a player without skill or ability. He finished his final season of junior hockey in 2008-09 at over a point-per-game pace, with 77 points from 68 games, split between the Prince Edward Island Rocket and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. But the thing with professional hockey is that nearly everyone was a scorer in juniors. And when he made it to the professional ranks, Tousignant found out early that he would need to play the game differently than the status quo to make it at this level.
“When I jumped to professional hockey in the AHL, my first coach, Glen Gulutzan, told me that I had to change my style, to do things that other players didn’t want to do.”
How Tousignant changed his game was by taking his vigor and his drive and turning it into the physical side of the game. He responded with 495 penalty minutes over parts of six professional seasons, many of which came through fighting, a part of the game that comes with getting under the skin of other players.
“We rely on him in situations that get our opponents on edge, he’s an agitating guy to play against,” Huska said. “That’s what makes him a special player.”
Playing the game that way can certainly be taxing, but it fits Tousignant like a glove. It’s not a coincidence that Huska used the word energy to describe the center. Tousignant comes to the rink with the same energy as a person that he does as a player.
It was that energy that came to the forefront just over one month ago, on February 16, when Tousignant, along with three of his Adirondack Flames teammates, Sena Acolatse,Turner Elson and Bryce Van Brabant, visited the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY. Double H Ranch is a special place in the upstate New York community, where children with disabilities get the chance to ski in the winter.
When the Ranch staff asked the players which of them was crazy enough to ski down the mountain in the adaptive sled, Tousignant’s teammates immediately signed him up. In what has become known as “Tousi’s Wild Ride,” he flew down the mountain with a smile on his face as he got to experience how children with disabilities are able to ski.
This is the same Mathieu Tousignant, who just three days before dropped the gloves with Rochester’s Jerome Leduc. The same player who leads the Flames with 12 fights this season and brings energy and passion to the lineup every night.
For Tousignant, it’s the energy that always shines through, regardless of whether it’s on the ice or in the community. Tousignant has led the Flames this season in community appearances with a variety of different events, just as he leads the team in fights. But for Tousignant, it’s never difficult to separate the energy he has on the ice from the off-ice activities. For him, it’s just another place where he can exert it.
“I enjoy doing the community stuff,” Tousignant remarked. “I remember when I was a kid we had a junior team in my hometown and we could skate with them and do things with them, I remember it like it was yesterday. If I can give it back to the kids here, that’s one thing I enjoy doing. My family gave me the value when I was a kid to take care of the person next to you, it doesn’t matter who it is and that’s just the way I’ve been living life.”
In early December, Tousignant, alongside teammate Ryan Culkin, spent an afternoon at the Glens Falls Youth Center, a center for local kids to enjoy after their time after school. The two Flames players hung out with kids, playing basketball, dodgeball and other games throughout their stay.
The kids played games of knockout in the gym and Tousignant would not stop playing until he was able to win one. As he remarked after the event, he may have gotten more of a workout than he did earlier in practice earlier that day. Tousignant, as he tends to at community events, may also have enjoyed being there even more than the kids did, which isn't hard to believe with the smiles he and Culkin gave to the room.
“He’s a real good person,” Huska said. “I think first and foremost when you have good people, when you take them away from their work setting, they’re great people around the community and [Tousignant] is one of those people. He loves to help, to be around and do things and he’s just a very caring person.”
Tousignant’s energy and personality is infectious, something he said he always tries to bring every time he comes into the Civic Center.
“When you get to the rink, you should enjoy being at the rink,” he said. “I’ve been playing hockey since I was three years old and the only reason why I play is because I love it. I come here every day with a smile on my face and when you do, you’re more likely to put a smile on a teammate’s face too.”
Although it’s never a reaction he will instill in his opponents, Tousignant’s outlook on hockey has always been the right one, on and off the ice. It’s that combination of what Tousignant brings to not only the Flames but to the local community as well, which has made him such a favorite amongst the coaches, staff and fans here in Glens Falls, something that will be remembered long after the Flames leave the area after the season.
A new KHL goal scoring record has been set this season – but the old record wasn’t broken by Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Radulov or any other player you might expect.
Steve Moses, an undrafted 5-foot-9 forward from Leominster, Mass., scored the record-setting 36th goal on a penalty shot Wednesday.
Moses, 25, played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire and scored 22 goals and 35 points in 37 games as a senior. He played eight games with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL in 2011-12 before signing on with Jokerit of the Finnish League. This season, Jokerit joined the KHL, and Moses has been a point-per-game player through 57 games. There are 60 games in the season.
Northeastern Assistant Coach Jerry Keefe working with a group
Youth Walk On Skills Return!
We are excited to announce that Youth Walk On skills will return this spring for 7 weeks every Tuesday beginning April 7th at Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, MA. Cost per session is $15/player and there is no commitment necessary! Be sure to join our professional staff each week to work on your skating, puck handling, shooting and more.