John Busch had an impact on Jamie Hoffmann

NEW ULM — One of the many hockey players that John Busch, who was presented the Tom Macho Award on Saturday, coached, worked with and influenced in his 20 years in hockey was former New Ulmite Jamie Hoffmann.

Hoffmann, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play D-I college hockey at Colorado College in 2003, said that Busch was a coach who genuinely cared about all of his players and went the extra mile to show it without a lot of fanfare.

“One memory that I have came after our Pee Wee season was done and he took it out of his own time to work with me at the old Brown County Coliseum when they had ice there,” Hoffmann said. “And it was just me and him out there and he worked with me on basically anything that I wanted to work on whether it was a better backhand shot or working on cross-overs. He took time out of his own schedule to help me on things that I needed help on. John went above and beyond his coaching duties.

“He was good at connecting with kids — he was always fun to be around and when he gave a talk before or after a game you were always locked in to what he had to say,” Hoffmann said.

And Hoffmann — through that same hard work and dedication that Busch showed — may have well been the best two-sport athlete to ever come out of New Ulm through his own dedication and hard work ethic.

Hoffmann had a D-I hockey scholarship to Colorado College after New Ulm High School and was also drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL draft. He was also offered a college hockey scholarship from Minnesota State-Mankato.

But Hoffmann opted to sign a free agent professional baseball contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that same year.

He also received college baseball offers from Minnesota and Bradley University.

Does he ever look back and wonder what it he had chosen a different road choosing the rink instead of the baseball field?

“I look back in a fun way,” said Hoffmann, who played 10 years of professional baseball. “I had an absolute blast playing baseball with all of the experiences that I had and all of the people that met. Knowing how great that was there is always something that I wonder if it would have went a different path if I would have played professional hockey. It is almost selfish of me like I kind of want both. I want to go back and meet all of those people in the hockey world and have all of those experiences. I still think about it but I know experiencing both was not an realistic possibility.”

Hoffmann played for the Dodgers and hit his first major league home run on May 24, 2009 against the Los Angeles Angels. Hoffmann is now a software salesman living in Plymouth with his wife Megan and daughter, Olivia.