Photo by Rena Laverty
Jacob Truscott set one goal for himself about four years ago and that was to play for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. It seemed like a dream at the time, but he understood the dedication and work that he needed to put in to make his dream a reality.
“I first found out about the program about four years ago when I first started going to camps,” Truscott said. “I then went to a game in Plymouth to watch the team and just loved how they represented the jersey. It was an eye-opener and something that I wanted to do.
“I realized that I always wanted to represent my country and win gold medals. I realized that the NTDP is best for me and my development, plus I get to wear the jersey every day.”
Hockey just seemed to come naturally for him. And the team atmosphere of the NTDP was a special thing to be a part of.
“It’s all about the team — your coaches and your teammates,” he said. “It’s an amazing group of people that you get to be with. Plus, I love to compete. It is one of the best things about this sport.”
Truscott’s first go-around in hockey came when he was just 4 years old, courtesy of his family.
“My whole family — my two brothers, my dad and my grandpa — played, so I just grew up around the sport,” he said. “They were really the ones that taught me how to do everything. I loved the sport ever since then.”
The nice thing for Truscott was his dad even served as his coach during his youth days.
“It was always a huge help to have him out there,” Truscott said. “He would give me advice on how to play. I owe a lot of my hockey knowledge to him and the type of player that I have become and where I am today.”
Growing up in Fort Gratiot, Michigan, there was one team that Truscott loved to root for and that is his hometown team, the Detroit Red Wings. It turned out to be a bonus for him when former Wing Kris Draper was one of his coaches during his time with the Little Caesars hockey organization.
Three famous dinner invitees:
Ovechkin, Mcdavid, and Westbrook
What celebrity would you carpool karaoke with and why?
Selena Gomez because she is a great singer
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Sweden because I always wanted to go there and see all the historic sites
Favorite American Hockey Player
“I played for him for five years and he really helped me with my game,” said Truscott. “I grew up a Red Wings fan and for me to meet a former player and play for him, it’s a great feeling. He is one of the great players to come out of the organization. It was amazing to have him there, especially with his knowledge and stories about the game.
“He is a great guy and very humble; he had a big impact on me. He taught me lessons both on and off the ice. He really helped me develop my game.”
The 6-foot, 160-pound blueliner understood the transition to the NTDP was going to be difficult at times. However, he knew from his past experiences some simple things that would make a difference for him.
“It was tough at first especially against the competition,” said Truscott. “We are playing against teams that are older that have added strength and size. It’s hard to play against the older players especially at first. Then, you realize that you have to learn to play around that. You can’t focus on those things, rather you have to worry about how you play your game.”
It’s all about the team — your coaches and your teammates. It’s an amazing group of people that you get to be with. Plus, I love to compete. It is one of the best things about this sport.
He credits the additional time both during practice and after practice as a big reason for his success on the ice and helping to make the transition go more smoothly.
“After practice, I definitely spend time off the ice working on different areas,” said Truscott. “I do footwork and speed drills. You definitely see a difference on the ice and it helps keep you up with the speed in the USHL. I will even spend time in the shooting room, shooting pucks. You need to take the extra steps and advantage of all the resources.
“We spend about 15-minutes working on skills too on the ice. We work on running the line and shooting, really all the defensive parts of the game.”
Truscott and his Under-17 teammates will be ready to showcase their talents when Team USA hosts the 2018 Four Nations this week at USA Hockey Arena. The tournament will feature Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the U17s and runs from Dec. 11-15. The top two teams will play for the tournament title on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.
Photo by Rena Laverty
“It’s a great opportunity to host,” Truscott said. “We definitely need to use the home ice to our advantage. The boys are excited, and we are ready for the challenge. It will be nice to have the fans and our family and friends be there for us. We need to play our game in order to have success.
“We are playing for our country and we want to go out and work our hardest. We need to find a way to overcome any adversity.”
Many NTDP players remark on the feeling they had when they walked into the locker room and saw the red, white, and blue jerseys hanging up for the first time. For Truscott, it was probably the moment he realized that he had reached his goal.
“I just remember the first time walking in for orientation day/camp and seeing them hanging there,” he recalled. “It was such a special moment. I had such a big smile on my face and it was unbelievable to look at my name on the back of the jersey. To see the jersey in the stall, I know I have to wear it with pride and honor. It is something I will never forget.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.