What it feels like to ... BE AN ICE HOCKEY ENFORCER
IWAS on the ice pretty much as soon as I could walk. I started skating at three and by four had picked up a hockey stick to whack a puck around. Ice hockey is a way of life in Minnesota, where I was born and grew up.
My mum went into labour with me on the way to my brother’s hockey game. My dad dropped her off at the hospital then swung by later to pick us up after the tournament. After leaving school at 16, I went to Seattle and played junior hockey until I was 19. I was drafted by the St Louis Blues and signed a pro contract at 20 where I played in the minors.
I was called up for my one and only National Hockey League (NHL) game for the Vancouver Canucks in 2008. Afterwards, I went through the professional systems for the Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers playing in minor league teams across the US and Canada.
I spent nine seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL), which was a great experience, but it is a young man’s league. There is quite a turnover, so it becomes harder to stay as a veteran.
I came to Scotland in 2014 to play for Braehead Clan – now known as Glasgow Clan – and have been in the UK Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) ever since. I spent three years with the Sheffield Steelers before returning to the Clan this season.
My wife Crystal and I love Scotland. We got married here in 2015. We eloped to Glen Coe, where we had a beautiful ceremony, then went up to Skye for our honeymoon.
As a defenceman my job is to keep the puck out of the net and move it up the ice for the forwards to go on the attack. The enforcer role is something
I took on at 16. I was influenced by a lot of my teammates who were tough guys.
The way I play is physical and aggressive, so it came naturally. If there is a bad hit or dirty play, an enforcer like me would step in and help police the play. Opposing players know going into the game that this guy is tough and may fight to protect his teammates.
That can help defuse tension during