Top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft have advice for young hockey players
Some of the biggest prospects in junior hockey give their advice to young players about sticking with the game and enjoying every moment.
PITTSBURGH — Any hockey player you ask will tell you that hockey is the greatest sport there is. But what do you do when the going gets tough or you're in a slump? Some of the top prospects in junior hockey this year offered their advice for young players who are just getting started in the sport.
"I'd just say to have fun," said Oliver Moore, a forward on the USNTDP. "Enjoy it. I mean, you can enjoy it for your whole life but at those first stages of the career just really have fun with it, try new things within the game."
Having fun appeared to be a common thread among the players who offerered their words of wisdom. In a sport where players face increased scrutiny with each level of advancement, it's still just a game for them.
"I feel like they should just try their best and have fun," said Ryan Leonard, a forward on the USNTDP. "If hockey is something they really admire and want to do for their life give it a try and if not there's something out there for them in the world. Hockey isn't for everybody and everybody knows that but if you choose it you're gonna have fun with it and you're gonna love it."
"Don't give up," said Will Whitelaw, a forward for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. "Obviously there's a lot of ups and downs and some days you don't feel like doing it or you don't feel like going to the rink but those are the days that if you want to experience the highs you have to experience the lows."
"Have fun and enjoy every moment of it because it's gonna go by really fast," said Gabriel Perreault, a forward on the USNTDP.
"Keep with it," said Austin Bernevik, a forward on the USNTDP. "My story was being on the ice for the first time and I was crying and wanting to get off. You may not love it right away but it's definitely something you can grow into for sure."
"Cancel out the noise," said Will Smith, a forward for the USNTDP. "Have fun out there and play your game and don't worry about what everyone else is talking about."
All five of the skaters in the article are eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft, with a handful expected to be early first round selections.