Last week I had a chance to catch up with Dartmouth Hockey defenseman Clay Han. Clay recently finished his Freshman season with the Big Green team, and took time out from his exams to talk about his unique hockey experience.
Clay, your path to NCAA hockey is a little unusual in that you were playing in the Mid Western United States as a Midget and you left for the East Coast. How did that come about?
“Yes it is a little unusual. I was in Ohio and doing real well. I was talking to a lot of NAHL and USHL teams at the time. But I got a phone call from Coach Anderson with the Junior Bruins asking me to play in a showcase out east that kind of changed things. I played in the showcase, got to know him and Peter Masters, and it just clicked for me.”
Why did you chose the USPHL over the NAHL and USHL then?
“I really wanted exposure and to make a D-1 commitment. With so many schools out east, and seeing all the scouts at the first showcase, it really was an easy decision. I didn’t even go to an NAHL or USHL camp.”
If you could tell a young player about your USPHL experience what would you say?
“I would say, if you want exposure, and you want a lot of ice time, the USPHL is a great league. I made great friends, great connections, and enjoyed all three years there.”
Have you heard about the new NCDC division?
“Yes. Its pretty exciting to know the league is now going to have a free to play division. I know a lot of guys I played with in the Mid West always wished there was free to play hockey out east because that’s where they wanted to play. Its going to be great to see how many kids head out here. I mean it only makes sense when so many schools are here.”
If you offered a young player once piece of advice what would it be?
“Trust the process. Don’t fall for the hype of any league over another. Every player has his own process to go through. If yours takes you out east to the USPHL, just follow it. Don’t let people tell you that you shouldn’t go there, or that their league is better. The USPHL is right in the middle of everything. Great cities, great schools, and great people involved. If I would have listened to other people, I probably wouldn’t be getting an Ivy League Degree.”
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher