In the midpoint of college hockeys' biggest weekend, Adam Gaudette of Braintree, Mass., commanded the media spotlight.
On live national television, he humbly accepted the Hobey Baker Award, the first Northeastern Husky to win the sport’s premier individual honor. No one in the media throng was aware that this newly anointed king of his sport nearly quit travel hockey after his first taste of Bantams. If not for a dose of tough love and some timely advice, Gaudette probably would be playing college baseball today.
In recent years, youth hockey in Massachusetts has taken criticism for turning out fewer and fewer elite players. Its participation pyramid continues to steepen, with more players dropping hockey as their primary sport because of the increasing demands of travel hockey. Consequently, the beloved "late bloomers," guys like Gaudette who need time to mature before reaching their hockey potential, are becoming increasingly rare in a sport whose players are asked to specialize so early.