ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Like most players, Luke Jaycox would love to play some pro hockey when his college career is finished. Whenever his playing career ends, though, Jaycox has a pretty good idea of what he would like to do with the finance degree he is working on at St. Cloud State.
Jaycox, a 22-year-old from Warroad, is not looking to go on Wall Street or be a financial adviser.
"I work at Zippel Bay Resort and it's between Warroad and Baudette, so it's about a 35-minute drive every morning from my house," he said of the resort on Lake of the Woods, which has the distinction of occupying not only the northernmost portion of Minnesota, but it extends into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. "Some days, I get to take people fishing and other days, I'm running stuff on shore, giving customers whatever they need and if anything breaks, go fix it."
Jaycox has worked at the resort for the past four summers. When he is done playing, he is interested in helping run the resort.
"I really enjoy my job (at the resort) and if there's a day when my boss and his wife want to retire, it would be cool to step into a management position there," said Jaycox, who is on track to graduate after spring semester in 2021. "I love being outside and meeting new people and it's the kind of job that fits perfectly with who I am. I really enjoy it."
This season, Jaycox has become a stabilizing junior defenseman for the Huskies. St. Cloud State (0-4-0-0-0 NCHC, 2-6-4 overall) returns to action with an NCHC series against Miami (2-3-1-0-1, 4-8-3) this weekend in Oxford, Ohio. The teams play at 6:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Goggin Ice Center (NCHC.tv).
Rare goal, close to home
Jaycox and the Huskies played much closer to his hometown in St. Cloud State's last series, which was against North Dakota on Nov. 22-23 in Grand Forks. In the first game of that series, he scored his fourth career college goal with a number of friends and family in attendance.
"That was pretty special and ... I hate to admit it now, but growing up as a UND fan, it was pretty cool scoring there," he said of Ralph Engelstad Arena, which is about 140 miles away from Warroad. "I couldn't believe how quiet it got in there. It was unbelievable.
"It's something I won't ever forget. Growing up dreaming of playing there and scoring against them there, it was kind of a surreal moment. You had to kind of take it in."
But with 10 points in 90 career college games, offense is not typically expected from him. Jaycox, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, is a stay-at-home defenseman who is expected to play a smart defensive and physical game.
"He's stepped up from being the seventh defenseman last year to giving us good, solid minutes this year," Huskies head coach Brett Larson said. "He's at his best when he's just simple with the puck and defending well. Obviously, he somehow found himself in the crease for a tap-in goal (against UND).
"But he's an older guy who played a lot of minutes (as a freshman) and we're counting on him to be a simple, strong, steady defender. That's what he's been. His compete level is what makes him good. He's a penalty killer and penalty kill usually comes down to two things: heart and competing. You've got to win battles and block shots."
The Rink Live video podcast: Garrett Raboin talks about development of young Gophers, shares memories of current Huskies and assesses both teams
Being the 7th of 7
Last season was the first in which the NCAA increased the number of players who can dress for games by one to 19. For the Huskies last season, Larson would have seven defensemen dress for games, though the amount of playing time that Jaycox received would vary.
As a freshman, Jaycox saw more ice time and played in 39 of St. Cloud State's 40 games in the third defensive pairing. But when defensemen Nick Perbix, Brendan Bushy and Spencer Meier showed up last season as freshmen, Jaycox was relegated to the seventh defenseman and fewer minutes.
"I talked to Lars about it and, at first, it was tough," he said of his role last season. "But (Larson) just said to stay strong. He reads that — being negative or pouting — and he just said to put your head down and keep working. That's kind of what I did when I figured out that the pouting wasn't going to help.
"He definitely pushed me to be a better hockey player, but also a better person. That's something that he really believes in and what we really respect about him as a coach."
Larson acknowledges that Jaycox was put in a tough situation as a sophomore, but said that he has come back and shown some resolve.
"Last year was a tough year for him because he went from playing every game to, some games, not even playing," Larson said. "I think going through that, helped him grow and mature. This year, you can tell he's not easily rattled and he can bounce back from a bad shift."
SCSU recruit receives honor
Veeti Miettinen, an 18-year-old forward who verbally committed to the Huskies this summer, has been named Player of the Month for November for the top Finnish junior hockey league. Miettinen, who is from Espoo, Finland, had six goals and eight points in nine November games playing for Kiekko-Espoo in the Under-20 league. Miettinen has 22 goals and 34 points in 30 games this season. His 22 goals lead the league and his 34 points are fourth in the league.
Last season, he had 27 goals and 61 points in 48 regular season games and five goals and 11 points in 11 playoff games.