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Keeghan Howdeshell Truly Comes Home for Home Opener

By Becky Olsen, 10/06/15, 9:00AM EDT


Howdeshell Played Games at Now-USA Hockey Arena During his Youth Career

When the USA Hockey's National Team Development Program begins a new era at USA Hockey Arena this weekend, U.S. National Under-18 Team forward Keeghan Howdeshell will be in a familiar place. He grew up playing at the building formerly known as Compuware Arena.

“It’s definitely still feels like home; it’s the same environment,” he said. “Nothing has really changed — just the paint job and more things USA. I don’t think of it any differently other than USA Hockey Arena instead of Compuware Arena.”

When Team USA hits the ice to take on the Chicago Steel on Friday and the University of Notre Dame on Sunday, however, Howdeshell expects the crowd to be a bit bigger than it was for his youth games.

“There will be more fans here,” he said. “My family will be here supporting me. I think it will be great.”

Howdeshell grew up in Brighton, Michigan, a short 20-25 minute drive from USA Hockey Arena. He spent most of his youth career with Compuware and Victory Honda in the Detroit area. However, he doesn’t live at home, instead choosing to live with a billet family in Ann Arbor for a second straight year so he can go to school with his teammates.

“It’s kind of a tease [to live so close to home],” he said. “I can always go home, but I know I can’t since I need to focus on hockey and school.” 

Even still, he said his parents Sean Howdeshell and Kelly Lapham have had the biggest influence on his hockey career.

“They have been there since day one,” he said. “They have been pushing me ever since. Even when it comes to hard times, they are always right there by my side, helping me out. They have been positive and always finding a way to help me push through my fears or anything I’m struggling with.”

Howdeshell, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, said his biggest change coming into his second NTDP season has been mental improvement.

“There isn’t much of a difference — it’s more the mental,” he said. “We have more college games coming up and to beat the older teams, we need to lead by example — just like the U18s did last year. We need to prepare for that battle.”

One benefit of playing college teams, Howdeshell said, is getting that “extra” experience before he heads off to Ferris State University in the fall of 2016 to begin his own collegiate hockey career.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity for all of us to get that experience,” he said. “Once we go into college, we know what to expect. It will be good for us to play against even older guys. It will give us more experience and help us get better.”

Deciding to play at Ferris State in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was an easy choice for Howdeshell.

“The academics fit me perfectly,” he said. “I like the coaching staff. It was one of the schools that fit me the most.”

Before moving on to Ferris State, Howdeshell is embracing his final season with the NTDP. While he works hard to improve on the ice, he’s also taken part in some off-ice opportunities such as modeling for NTDP promotional videos over the summer.

“It was fun and definitely something not a lot of people get to experience,” he said. “It was just different and something I have never done before. I had to do a shot where I had my jersey off and all my equipment on, and then I had to put my USA jersey on so it would show the front of the USA. 

“We got on the ice, and I had to go and do a stop for the camera. It was for an opening video. It was really fun and a good time.”

Modeling in the USA uniform was a treat for Howdeshell. After all, he appreciates wearing the jersey every day.

“It’s special,” he said. “When you put it on, it has to be bigger than yourself.  Not a lot of people to get put on the USA jersey, so be able to put it on, it’s speechless. You don’t get to do it everyday.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Photo by Rena Laverty

Keeghan's Favorites

Favorite NHL Team
Detroit Red Wings

Favorite Video Game
Call of Duty

Favorite Movie
Black Hawk Down

Favorite TV Show
Family Guy

Favorite Actor
Tom Hanks

Favorite Actress
Jennifer Aniston

Favorite Music

Favorite Book
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain