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Anderson Taking Hockey in Stride in Second Year with NTDP

By Becky Olsen, 11/24/15, 8:00AM EST


Credits Offseason Workouts for Individual and Team Improvements

Photo by Rena Laverty

It’s hard to blame Joey Anderson for being a little star struck at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September in Buffalo, New York. After all, he was playing among some of the top U.S. prospects in an NHL arena, and his coach was former NHL star Jeremy Roenick.

“The whole experience was really cool from top to bottom,” said Anderson, a forward on the U.S. National Under-18 Team. “To play for Jeremy Roenick, someone who I watched play hockey on TV, I think I had that star struck moment. It was just cool and special to be a part of that experience, even though we lost the game.”

Roenick, a 20-year NHL veteran and two-time U.S. Olympian, offered some wisdom to the young players.

“He told us to have fun, [that] this year is part of the process and to just enjoy it; you need to keep doing your thing,” Anderson said. “It’s important to heed his words. I can’t lose that focus. If you love the game, then that should be why you play.”

Anderson, a native of Roseville, Minnesota, has shown improvement so far in his second season with the NTDP. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound forward said he and his teammates have improved chemistry this season, a product of hard work put in during the offseason.

“It’s really a bond we have here,” he said. “It really does help ease the play on the ice.”

The offseason workouts also helped physically. Anderson said he gained six pounds of muscle and improved his overall skill set.

“When you are going after it every day, you can see the difference in your body,” he said. “I definitely feel stronger on the ice.”

The team’s results show improvement, too. After finishing second in all three international tournaments last season, the U18s broke that streak when they won the Five Nations Tournament earlier this month in Switzerland.

“In all three tournaments last year, it felt as if we were right there but we didn’t win,” Anderson said. “This year it was different. Mentally, it was a big confidence booster for us. It showed us what we need to do to be successful.”

One moment stood out to Anderson.

“After we won, we sang the USA chant,” he said. “It was the first time we sang it as a group. It was such a cool thing to be a part of and something I won’t forget. Hopefully, we will get to do it again.”

Anderson, who has five goals and 14 points in 20 games this season, credits the coaching staff for the team’s success this season.

“It’s about repetition,” he said. “As we are playing our game the right way, we see the results. It helps us to want to continue to do what the coaches want, because we see the results.”

The players also have developed a bond in playing for Team USA.

“It’s been such a unique opportunity and an honor to represent my country,” Anderson said. “I will take it with me forever. To play with the same team for two years, it has been a cool experience. It’s really something special.”

The season is still early, and Anderson has high hopes for the winter. One game in particular stands out. The U18s play against Anderson’s next team when travel to the University of Minnesota Duluth on Jan. 2, 2016.

“It will be a cool and neat experience,” said Anderson, whose family and friends are about a 2.5-hour drive from Duluth. “It’s a great rink, and I’ll probably have about 20 family and friends in the stands. It will be fun to play against my future team. It should definitely help me next year. 

“The best way is to keep my mind focused on the game. I just need to play with our team and focus on our players. I just can’t think about the future.”

Whenever he starts to get ahead of himself, Anderson thinks back to advice he’s received over the years.

“You need to keep working hard,” he said. “That is what will separate you and who will go on. Make sure to keep it fun. If you don’t enjoy it, it won’t be a game anymore; rather it will be a job. You can’t have that.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

NTDP News & Features

Photo by Rena Laverty

Joey's Favorites

Favorite NHL Team
Minnesota Wild

Favorite U.S. Player
Phil Kessel

Favorite Sport (Outside of Hockey)

Favorite Movie
The Other Guys

Favorite Actor
Will Ferrell

Favorite Music
Bon Jovi

Favorite Home-Cooked Meal
Chicken and Rice

Favorite Activity Away from Rink
Golf and Xbox