Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Hockey Rink Rebel along the Guadalupe

Here's an interesting story that I helped out with a little bit by sending some of the info and keeping up playoffs. It was done by JT Garza of the San Antonio Express News. It covers his move from Michigan to Texas back in 2008. The honors he's won this season, the disappointment about missing out on the NAHL Robertson Cup Tournament and heading to Northern Michigan University for his college career.

From JT Garza of the San Antonio Express News: www.mysanantonio.com

Erik Higby racked up quite an assortment of honors this season in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).

A forward for the Topeka Roadrunners, Higby was named MVP and Forward of the Year in the 19-team league for junior players. He also won the league's scoring title with 80 points and 27 goals.

He was also the league's nominee for the 2010 USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year Award.

This kind of hockey recognition rarely goes to a player from South Texas.

"It doesn't feel like a big deal to me," said Higby, 20, of New Braunfels. "When you hear it, it's exciting. but it doesn't mean anything for next year.

A transplant from Michigan, Higby will attend Northern Michigan on a half scholarship and majors in Sports Management. When he finishes at the university, he hopes to stay close to hockey regardless of whether he's playing.

"I figured if I can't go any further in hockey, I want to coach and teach as many kids as possible to get into the sport," he said.

Higby's family moved from Michigan to New Braunfels in 2008 from their hometown of Warren, Michigan., after his mother, Maria, sold her textbooks shop business.

She is a currently is a property manager and his father, Mike, is a housing contractor.

His father got him into hockey, starting in rec. leagues. Higby quickly grasped playing on the ice, and by the age of 15, he was playing in the Midwest Elite Hockey League.

"Coaches played players a year older and a year younger then me, so I was able to play with kids around my age and have fun," Higby said.

The NAHL prepares players 20 and under for College Careers. Each team has 20 to 25 players, who are drafted from a pool of high school students.

The Roadrunners season came to an end in late April after losing to the three-time NAHL Champion, the St. Louis Bandits in the South Division Final of the Robertson Cup. It was the 2nd straight year that Higby lost to the Bandits in the South Division Final.

In this year's series against the Bandits, he had two assists and no goals in the five game set.

"Everybody was down," Higby said. "I was disappointed in myself for the way I played."

He would trade all of his individual accomplishments this year to win a championship because "I'm a team player.

Higby is back in town getting ready to enjoy his summer by working with his father in the Housing Business.

"I'm gone 8 months out of the year, so I miss him, "Higby said. "I would call him evey day to see how he was doing, and now i'm excited to work and spend time with him."

Higby will leave for Northern Michigan on August 15, but he plans on making his time in South Texas well Spent.

"I'm going to be working, go to the gym to better myself, and see all my family and friends," said Higby.

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