Photo by Rena Laverty
Jacob Truscott had to pinch himself a few times during a Jan. 25 game at the University of Michigan. After all, he was facing off against his dream team at historic Yost Ice Arena as a high school senior while playing for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 Team.
“It was so much fun to play at Yost,” he said. “The fans were amazing. I grew up going to the games and it was always my dream to play on that ice surface. It was amazing to play against the team that I grew up watching. It was probably one of my biggest moments for me.
“It was surreal, especially earning the 4-1 win. It was an honor to start the game and a humbling experience. It was so unreal, and I can’t say enough about it. It was packed and my family was able to come and watch the game.”
When it came time to pick a college, it was an easy decision for the Port Huron, Michigan, native.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed about playing hockey for Michigan,” Truscott said. “My grandpa [Charlie Truscott] and my parents [Charles and Lori] would take me to games. My grandpa has been one of my biggest supporters.
“I wanted to stay in Michigan and play college hockey. I really liked the coaching staff and the history of the program is exceptional. It will be great to suit up and play for the Wolverines. I’m excited to be able to play there next year.”
As part of that, he will bring plenty of experience to the Wolverine locker room as he has played several college games this year, including contests against Big Ten foes Michigan State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“It was an honor to play in those college games,” said Truscott. “I really enjoyed playing in the Big Ten rinks. It was great to get a feel for playing college hockey. I know that I go into games and understand the level of competition. I feel that I will be ready for next year and I’m excited for this next journey.”
Photo by Rena Laverty
To get to that point, it took some serious training for the 6-foot-1, 172-pound blueliner. He was surprised what a difference a year could make between his Under-17 and Under-18 years.
“The biggest difference is that we were definitely stronger from our spring training,” he said. “It was a big help for me and all the guys, especially when it came to playing NCAA games. We definitely got bigger and stronger and that really helped us on the ice.
“We had a new trainer [Brian Gallivan] and he really helped us in terms of sport science. It really showed how motivated we were to win a championship especially after our first U17 tournament — the Under-17 World Challenge in our first year where we finished last. We were really motivated and wanted to do well this year.”
Photo by Rena Laverty
Plus, Truscott credits the practices as helping push him to be a better player.
“The practices are the biggest thing on why I got better,” he said. “You are playing and competing against the best players every day. Everybody competes as hard as they can, especially in practice. That really gets you ready for a game when you are competing with these guys. It really said a lot about this team with just how competitive that we are.”
He will leave Plymouth and the NTDP with plenty of memories, but one thing will always stick out.
“One of the things that really stands out to me is winning the tournament in Sweden in November,” said Truscott. “It was great to finally get the tournament win and it really showed how far our group had come. It really showed the hard work and dedication that we had put in our game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play in that last tournament but this one will always be special for our group.”
With the cancellation of the Under-18 World Championship, it’s been a different spring for Truscott. However, he has not been idle — he is just changing his focus.
“I’m working out every day and training,” he said. “I’m trying to add size to my frame as much as I can. I’m doing the extra work including shooting pucks, yoga, running, stretching and meditation. I’m trying to do all the little things, not only to pass the time, but also to get into shape. I’m driven to get better right now.”
No matter what happens next, one thing will never change and that is how much it has meant for him to wear the colors of his country.
“It was a surreal experience,” said Truscott. “I know it’s cliché, but it was an honor and an amazing experience to wear the jersey. It was something that I dreamed about as a kid. I remember watching the Miracle movie and of course, the Olympics. To be able to wear the jersey and represent my family, team and the country is something that I will never take for granted.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.