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Red Savage Hopes to be the Next NTDP Star from Arizona

By Becky Olsen, 10/29/19, 1:30PM EDT

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The son of former NHLer, Brian, Savage looks to follow in footsteps of Auston Matthews


Photo by Rena Laverty

Red Savage’s dad, Brian, was maybe his biggest inspiration to start skating, but he was busy playing in the National Hockey League, so it was his mom, Debra, that got Red started on the ice.

“I was around 3 and we were living in Phoenix, where my dad [Brian] was playing at the time,” Savage said. “Since my dad wasn’t around much, it was my mom that taught me how to skate.”

Hockey was not necessarily Red’s first option for sports, but he ended up falling in love with it.

“My dad played so I was guided into playing hockey,” said Savage, adding that he played football, lacrosse and soccer in middle school. “… I love the grind of hockey. Having a certain schedule and knowing that I will have to be in certain places at certain times, I know it will help me in the future. It’s a lot that I like to take in every day.”



Brian Savage had a 12-year NHL career, which included stops in Montreal, Phoenix, St. Louis and Philadelphia. Being around the sport all his life helped the younger Savage learn some lessons on being a pro.

“I remember going to a few games when he was in Philadelphia,” said Savage. “I remember how professional he was in everything that he did. He was always giving a kid the chance to be him and being the best person he could to everyone, not just a hockey player.”

Brian retired when Savage was 6, but he still remained active in the sport. He coached his son’s youth hockey teams.

“He coached me for a few years in Phoenix,” explained Savage. “He was our assistant coach for the Belle Tire and the Compuware teams [in Michigan] the last few years. This is the first year I haven’t had my dad as a coach. It’s different. I do not have him talking to me on the bench, instead, he talks to me when I get home.”

In addition to his mom and dad, Savage has another influence in his hockey career, his older brother Ryan. Ryan is currently in his first season with the Miami University RedHawks after playing in the United States Hockey League for the last three seasons.

“I always looked up to him,” Red said of his older brother. “He has always been a little bit bigger than me and a little bit stronger than me, but he has always pushed me to be my best. I have always tried to be as good as him and try to beat him in everything I could. He has always pushed me and made me who I am.

“We played a lot of competitive games in the basement growing up. There were definitely holes in the wall and bruises and bumps from pushing each other. My little brother [Rory] drove my mom the craziest.”

Playing for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program was something that Savage, a 5-foot-10, 167-pound forward, dreamed about. There might be a small rivalry in his house as his dad suited up for Team Canada and won a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games. His dad understands why his sons made the choices they did.

“We were given a choice a few years back and we both chose the USA,” explained Red. “My brother played for Team USA [at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games] a few years back. I was born here, and it is a bigger part of me than Canada. I love playing for the USA.”

Savage was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but moved to Michigan three years ago for hockey. He is still proud to be part of the hockey tradition in Arizona.

“It’s getting bigger every year,” he said. “There are multiple rinks popping up. Arizona State just became DI. There are people coming out of there and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Savage was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but moved to Michigan three years ago for hockey. He is still proud to be part of the hockey tradition in Arizona.

“It’s getting bigger every year,” he said. “There are multiple rinks popping up. Arizona State just became DI. There are people coming out of there and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Savage, who played with Compuware the last two years, was already familiar with USA Hockey Arena so earning a spot was a dream come true.

“It was crazy,” said Savage. “I played at this rink for the past two years. Every time I went to my old locker room, I would pass our new one and just hoped that one day I would be in there. The day that it finally came, it was unbelievable. It was everything that I have looked forward to for the past eight years, finally came true.”

When he earned a spot at the NTDP, he knew right away that he had to take it.

“So many people have come through here and gotten a lot better, especially names like Auston Matthews [2013-15],” he said. “He is from Arizona like me. I looked up to him for a while, even before he came here, I knew about him. It is pretty cool seeing how many people have come out of here.”

Savage and his teammates are in the midst of a three-game USHL winning streak, the first victory a 5-4 overtime win at the Chicago Steel on Oct. 19. It was obviously a special and memorable moment.


Photo: Rena Laverty

“It was an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “It was like winning a state title or a national title. It was a big sigh of relief and everyone was completely fired up because of it.

“We need to continue to get better and focus on the little details, not only on the ice but off the ice, too. It’s those little details that can make us better people and become better hockey players.”

Savage and his Under-17 teammates head off to their first international tournament, the 2019 Under-17 World Challenge in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The U17s open play with an exhibition contest against Canada Red on Oct. 31 before opening tournament play against the Czech Republic on Nov. 3.

“It will be pretty cool and unreal to play for our country,” said Savage. “You are fighting not only for yourself but the hundreds of people behind you. If you can win your country a medal, it’s pretty cool.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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