Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An East Texas Goalie blazes a trail at a Michigan Prep School

Most of the Southwest Hockey Talent that have gone on to do well in the different Junior Leagues and the NCAA have come from Dallas - and for good reason - the talent, the rinks, the teams make a big difference. But from time-to-time, we have seen talent that have come out of different parts of Texas and the rest of the Southwest.

We currently have Ian Young from Houston who has committed to Colorado College starting in 2011, he's going to play with the Chicago Steel (USHL) this year. Erik Higby from New Braunfels who moved from Michigan to the San Antonio Area who won the NAHL Player of the Year and Scoring Titles last year who's heading to Northern Michigan.

Perhaps the most successful non Dallas based player is Matt Donovan who's from Oklahoma City who played for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL) and now is with the University of Denver. He was also a 2008 Draft Pick of the New York Islanders and won a World Junior Gold Medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, Canada back in January.

Now you can add Thomas Scoggin from Longview, Texas to that mix. After founding out he had a strong talent to be a hockey goalie, who after a strong career at a Michigan Boarding School which included 2 State Titles has put him on his way to play in the NCAA & Beyond. Thomas looks to add Longview to the list of players from the Southwest as he looks to return to Texas.

From long trips from Longview to the Metroplex to having to take up a huge academic load at his Michigan Boarding School, he looks to make an impression with the Alliance Bulldogs this upcoming season to eventually enter the Junior Ranks and then on the NCAA.

Along he had strong goaltender battles during his senior year, a trying time when he first arrived and some amazing moments on the way to the State Championship.

Cranbrook-Kingswood Links

Thomas Scoggin Profile

Cranbrook-Kingswood Team Page

Cranbrook-Kingswood Playing in an Outdoor Game

Andrew Weidenbach Profile

Cranbrook-Kingswood Wins State Championship

Cranbrook-Kingswood High School

From Rick Kretzschmar of the Longview News Journal: http://www.news-journal.com/

Thomas Scoggin is back in Texas, and because of this he said his life has come full circle.

It's a circle three years in the making, and it took this Longview native to a crucible of hockey in the ice rinks of Michigan. It would be a stern test, but how Scoggin endured and trimpuhed can put him in another circle. A circle of champions.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say Scoggin has returned to Longview a conquering hero. He has the treasure of victory, including two state championship rings he received while playing goalie for Bloomfield Hills (Mich). Cranbrook-Kingswood School.

The second of the titles was this past school year, when he was his team's primary goalie for the 2009-2010 season. This year and his high school career was capped by Cranbrook-Kingswood defeating Flint Powers Catholic 3-1 in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division State Title game in March, a game where he made 20 saves.

"There's nothing like the feeling your teammates are piling on top of you after a State Championship Game," Scoggin said with a smile.

That State Title continues a driving force for hockey from Scoggin, as well as his family, especially considering that they are no ice rinks in East Texas.

That didn't prevent Scoggin from dreaming about playing the sport as a kid, inspired by watching NHL Games on Television. He started his playing career in 1998 when he was five years old with hockey he could play in East Texas, using Inline Roller Skates. Scoggin competed for inline teams for three years at area complexes such as Inner Skate in Kilgore. He said some parts of those games have carried to playing on the ice.

"The quickness of the game and what angles to play in goal carried over," Thomas Scoggin said. "I definitely got my sense of competitiveness. I'll always remember roller hockey."

Scoggin switched to ice hockey in 2001, initially playing for a Shreveport Team before moving on to play for Dallas area clubs, especially the Alliance Bulldogs.

While he earned numerous awards for his goalkeeping, it came at a price for the family. Rex Scoggin, Thomas' father, said numerous 2.5 to 3 Hour Drives to the Metroplex took their toll over a 5 year span.

Rex said around 2006, he considered moving the family to the Metroplex to ease the strain of travel, and also considered having Thomas and himself move to the Metroplex. However, these ideas didn't work out in part because Rex runs a sporting goods store in Longview, while his wife Vicki is a teacher at a Foster Middle School.

Rex decided sending Thomas to a boarding school up north was the best thing to enhance Thomas' Hockey skills. Thomas said he liked right away.

However, Vicki was against at first. She said Thomas had to live up to some conditions if he was to move to Michigan, conditions he had to fulfill in his 2006-2007 school year as a freshman at Longview High School. Even after his son lived to those conditions, Vicki said having her 15 year old son leave home in 2007 was painful.

"He had to make All A's in school and he had to take all AP Courses. He did everything I asked him to," Vicki said. "I had to let him go, but the day we put him on the plane, I cried the entire way there."

Rex said they considered four schools including schools in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana, but Cranbrook-Kingswood was the only school they visited. Cransbrook-Kingswood has won 15 titles - a Michigan State Record - with 8 under current head coach Andy Weidenbach. More then a third of the Advanced Placement Scholars in Michigan attend Cranbrook-Kingswood, which is a boarding school. Thomas said he needed an academic scholarship to attend the school.

Thomas said the transition from Texas to Michigan went well, although the colder climate made mornings interesting because his dormitory's heating system didn't always work 100%, making showers uncomfortable. Thomas said having another player from Texas on the team he knew from his inline days, Blake Mangiell of Tyler, helped him socially.

On the ice, he had to overcome physical setbacks. Thomas said the most important adjustment he made in his game - working with coach Andy Weidenbach - was his stance, which used to be to low.

"He used to lean forward to much," Weidenbach said. "He was successful because he was aggressive and always challenged the shooter. He is a student of the game.

"Technically, Thomas may not to be perfect, but neither was Dominik Hasek."

Thomas played Junior Varsity in 2007-2008, but missed out on the postseason because he suffered a broken hand. He was a reserve when Cranbrook-Kingswood won the 2008-2009 State Title in Division 3, which includes schools with enrollments of roughly 800 students or less.

Weidenbach said there was fierce competition between three contenders for his team's starting position, but Thomas won out. Thomas had an outstanding season, going 14-2-1 with seven shutouts and a .919 SV% while allowing just 26 goals. Five of the goals were allowed in a rare down game, a 5-2 loss to Detroit Central Catholic in a game which was played outdoors. Thomas suffered a concussion in that game in a collision in which the back of the head hit the ice.

Thomas would recover, and would be even better in the postseason. He was 6-0 in the playoffs, allowing six goals overall. This included Thomas said was the highlight of his career in the first period of a 4-1 semifinal win over Calumet.

"At the end of the first, they had someone get free all alone in the crease, but I got a blocker save on the shot," Thomas said. "It might have been the best save I ever made."

The State Championship contest itself was also a full circle for Rex and Vicki, who made the trip to Plymouth, Michigan for the game. Vicki - who also works the scoreboard for Longview High School at Lobo Coliseum Events - said she had to bite her tongue when she overheard Powers Catholic fans in a bathroom saying their team was going to win because the Cranbrook-Kingswood goalie was from Texas. Thomas said he was proud of his mothers restraint, especially since she is usually not shy about speaking her mind.

Both Rex and Vicki said the highlight for them was when Thomas stooped a penalty shot in the first period. Thomas said he could see the shooter was nervous, and used a mind game to help with the save, faking that the standing was too wide to save a shot made at the five-hole (The Space between a goalie's skate), then making a save when the shooter shot at the spot.

"When he made the save, all of his teammates were yelling out, 'Texas, Texas Texas! Rex said. "The atmosphere of a penalty shot within their team is something, with a lot of trash talk. It reminds me of the talk when guys play one-on-one in basketball."

While athletes in most sports move on the college level right away at the conclusion of their high school careers, it is common for hockey players to play a season or two for a club or Junior Program.

In the case of Thomas, he will return to Alliance for the next school year, playing his home games at the Dr. Pepper Star Center in Irving. In an arrangement similar to what East Texas Pump Jacks baseball team has in the Texas Collegiate League, Thomas will live with a metroplex family, moving from Longview in the middle of August. Vicki said Thomas will also take college courses next year and/or work at a part time job.

Thomas said he plans on joining a Junior program in 2011 and will play Juniors for a year or two. A team he may join is the Texas Tornado, a Frisco based Squad. Thomas said he is anxious to get more ice time, and that his time in Juniors is critical for his college hopes. College Hockey is divided between the Division 1 Scholarship level, the non-scholarship Division 3 Level and college club programs in the ACHA.

"I think it's a maybe for Thomas playing at the Division 1 Level. Competition at Division 1 is extremely fierce," Weidenbach said. "Can Thomas play at some level of college hockey? I would say yes."

Thomas said he thought about possibly playing in the NHL someday, especially this off-season because the long time Dallas Stars Goalie Marty Turco will not return for the 2010-2011 campaign.

But he said he doesn't like to think about the NHL very long, preferring to go with a line of thinking which got him from inline to ice, not to mention to Michigan and back again.

"I would love to reach 'The Show.' "I think about that, but one step at a time," Thomas said. "You can't really think about what's too far ahead. You have to focus on what's in front of you."

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame East Texas has NO ICE RINKS! There is so much athletic talent here, ice hockey is getting the short end of the stick! Maybe if the sport had some more availability here, we'd see more stars like Thomas Scoggin come out of this area. Good for you Thomas! I'm proud to know someone managed to find ice hockey, in this ice hockey-less area! Especially a goalie!!! Keep up the good work!!