Friday, April 30, 2010

Article on OKC Native Chase Grant as the Fargo Force get ready for USHL Clark Cup Final

Here's an interesting article from the In Forum Newspaper which is in Fargo takes a look at Oklahoma City Native Chase Grant as he has become one of the team's most popular players from the fans and within the org. It takes a look at rise in the sport coming out of the Sooner State.

From Kerry Collins of the Fargo In Forum Newspaper:

Many years ago, a Canada Native in the United States got stationed in Oklahoma.

The twist of fate introduced Chase Grant to Hockey, and produced one of the most popular players in the two year history of the Fargo Force junior Hockey Team that will play in the USHL Clark Cup Championship Series starting Friday Night.

The Air Force Hockey enthusiast was a neighbor of the Grant Family.

"He got my brother and me involved in hockey, and we are all," Grand said. And i'm not big enough to play football."

The 5'11", 175 pound forward from Oklahoma City has become a fan favorite because of his tireless work ethic and willingness to do the dirty work in the corners and in front of the net.

"He works so hard, and he does the things that a lot of players don't want to do," Force coach Steve Johnson said. "He shows what happens when your always working hard."

"It's not always about skill all the time. He makes things happen."

Grant scored just 28 points last season, but committed to Minnesota State Mankato last summer. He said it took some pressure off going into the season, but it didn't lower his goals.

"It definitely helped having that out of the way so I could just worry about getting better," Grant Said.

Heading into his 2nd season with Fargo, Grant said that he wanted to be the captain. His teammates agreed - voting him unanimously to wear the "C" on his jersey.

"There are guys that want that, and Chase is definitely one of them," Johnson said. The Guys really, really look up to him, and that comes from his consistency."

"He's always on an even keel, and everybody respects that."

Grant also has the knack of citing his teammates for creating the bulk of the scoring chances on the ice. He's been on a line with Matt Leitner - who is also headed to Mankato - for the better part of two seasons. Grant said his familiarity with Leitner and nearly tripling of his goals from last year is no coincidence.

"My job is to get him the puck and get to the net, because he is going to find you," Grant said. "And you better be ready. Even if it looks impossible, he'll find a way to get you the puck.

"Now i'm always ready, and that's made me a better player."

Grant usually dosen't need any extra motivation, but he got some after Game 2 of the West Division Final against Omaha. At the end of Fargo's 4-2 victory, teammate and friend Corey Leivermann was sent to the hospital after a nasty check from Omaha's C.J. Ludwig in the closing minutes.

Grant punished the Lancers with his play in the next game, scoring the first hat trick in the Force's playoff history to lead the Force to a 4-3 win. Fargo went on to win the series in 5 games.

"Here was a guy that I played with for 2 years, and i'm close friends with. It was like a family member was down on the ice," Grant said. "You're worried about his health, but after we found he was ok, that just focused us on the rest of the series.

"It worked out that way, and sometimes it's nice for people to get what they deserve."

Johnson said getting back to the Clark Cup Final for the second year in a row was especially important for Grant - not only because he's the captain of this group, but because of how much of the group means to the captain.

"This is important to him, and this is what he's got all those guys working for," Johnson said. "They respect him, but they believe in him, too."

"He was our leading goal-scorer this season, and in the playoffs. Hopefully he's the leading goal-scorer in the Finals."

1 comment:

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