Huffman moving around in junior hockey

NEW ULM – Colin Huffman’s first year in the world of Junior Hockey was a little different than he thought it would be, moving around as much as he did.

Huffman’s journey in hockey took him to three different teams – the Twin City Steel to the LaCrosse Freeze of the NA3HL and finally to Owatonna of the USPHL (United States Premier Hockey League).

“I played with [the Steel] for a month but they only had three games and I only played in one of the games,” Huffman said.

He was then dealt to LaCrosse, which he felt was not a good mix.

“I liked the town, the area and living there but I felt that I really wasted my time there,” he said. “I was there for three months and did not get much out of it. If I had to choose between those two teams [Steel and LaCrosse] I would have definitely rather have stayed with the Steel.”

Huffman’s desire to play elsewhere forced him to ask for a trade, which happened during Thanksgiving when he was dealt to Owatonna.

“That was a lot better fit for me,” he said. “I met some really good fiends on the team. I played in every single game there, it was a lot more fun.”

When he was in LaCrosse, Huffman was always anchored on the fourth line. “I was never put in the position where I was able to score,” he said. “In Owatonna I was on either the second or third line – they were pretty much equal lines. But in Owatonna I was on a line that was able to score and I was getting more playing time. It was more fun for me.”

And scoring goals and playing time where another big adjustment that Huffman had to make jumping from high school to his first year of junior hockey where playing time initially was limited.

“It was a reallly tough adjustment,” he said. “I just wanted to get in the game. It was terrible sitting on the bench or watching in the stands. It was hard.”

And it got to the point where Huffman almost pulled the plug on hockey.

“I was almost there,” he said. “In LaCrosse, I was thinking about quitting but I wanted to finish out the year and see how things finished out. Since I got traded, I’m pretty much back in love with the game. Now I am thinking about playing next year again.”

Next year Huffman is planning on being busy. He plans on going to Minnesota State-Mankato full-time while attending practices at 7:15 a.m. in Owatonna, which is 40 minutes away.

But would Huffman consider playing junior hockey in New Ulm next year for the not-yet-named team?

“I cannot say it has not crossed my mind,” he said. “It would be really cool playing in New Ulm again. But Owatonna did give a lot to me so I would really have to think about that. I have not ruled it out but as of right now I am leaning towards Owatonna.”

SCHMITZ GETS WIN: Kelton Schmitz of New Ulm helped the Minnesota State-Mankato men’s golf team get a win last week in Tucson, Arizona, against Bemidj State. Schmitz also led the Mavericks to a second-place finish in the Dove Valley Classic this past Thursday. Schmitz finished third with a 6-over par.

NEW ULM COUNTRY CLUB OPEN:The New Ulm Country Club is open this weekend.

ST. CLOUD STATE REMAINS UNBEATEN: The St. Cloud State University baseball team remained unbeaten (10-0) with 21-4 win against Briar Cliff on Thursday in Tucson, Arizona.

New Ulm High School gradiuates Zach Hoffmann and Judd Davis each had three hits for the Huskies. Hoffmann had two doubles. The Huskies play Saturday against Valley City State University.

Davis, a freshman, is leading the Huskies hitting .600 (12-for-20) with a home run and 12 RBIs. Hoffmann is hitting .357 (15-for-42).

FAMILIAR FACE COACHING IN STATE: If you watched the Class AA boy’s state tournament basketball game between St. Croix Lutheran and Braham on Friday night, that was former Minnesota Valley Lutheran and Martin Luther College basketball player Jay Wendland who is the head coach of St. Croix Lutheran.