THE #ESHOW
THE #ESHOW

Episode · 7 months ago

Exclusive Interview (Connor Bizal and Adam Zukowski) | Episode 74

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this week's episode of the #EShow we chat with Connor Bizal and Adam Zukowski, a pair of forwards from this past year's EHL Champions, the Boston Jr. Rangers. Bizal and Zukowski are also the Co-Founders of The Fellowship of Hockey Advancement, a free resource for high school and junior hockey players who are looking to succeed and grow at their level. The mentors at FHA provide advice and support to players who need help overcoming their obstacles and getting to where they want to be. Bizal and Zukowski take the time to share their respective stories including some of the hurdles they've each had to overcome.

Welcome to the e show with NeilRavin. With over onezero NCAA commitments, the ehl is the proven path tocollege. Turn it up and learn more about the college placement leader at thedivision two and three levels. Welcome to the east show, presented by thepenalty box foundation. Foundation's mission centers around their daily motto we take care ofour own as they help out all of those within the hockey community who've experienceda catastrophic event. I'll learn more at penalty box foundation dot Org. What'sup? My name is Neil Raven and this episode number seventy four of thee show, and on this week's episode we shot with Connor Bizol and AdamZookowski, a pair of for from this past year's Eh Shel champions, theBoston junior rangers. Bizarre and Zookowski are also the CO founders of the fellowshipof Hockey Advancement, a free resource for high school and junior hockey players whoare looking to succeed and grow at their level. The mentors at Fah provideadvice and support to players who need help overcoming obstacles and getting the where theywant to be. Biz All and Zukowski take the time to share their respectivestories, including some of the hurdles that they had to overcome, joined nowby Connor Bizal and Adam Zuokowski, the CO founders of the fellowship of hockeyadvancement. As it going. Guys, good are you to be here.Thanks for coming on and we talked about this for a little bit. Iwanted to give a little bit of time to breathe after your championship season.We're going to touch on that, of course, but will either want toyou start with it with the very general, basic question. What is the fellowshipof Hockey Advancement? And take this one busy. We're a free mentorshipprogram for players aged fourteen through twenty one, basically helping players and their guidance throughjunior hockey, high school hockey, making the decision decision to jump tojuniors and helping him through the process by that transitions really difficult, going fromteam to team, getting cut, getting traded, just kind of helping playersort the whole deal at being sort of a big brother the whole process.All right, who's idea was it? Oh Gosh, honestly, it waskind of it was a mixture of both. I think it's probably November when Isaw I was working at the penalty box shop for drew, which obviouslywe all know. Drew and zoo came into to talk to drew about volunteeringopportunities and I had been sitting on idea sort of similar what we're doing.I didn't know exactly how I want to do it or what platform I wantedto to use, and I heard him talking to drew about volunteering. SoI was like, you know, I like, I think we both havekind of see my d idea here, like why don't we start thinking ofsomething in Ju together, and from there just kind of we started brainstorming andand here we are and into it. Here I want to have you eachtell me your story because first and foremost I see the ten plus jerseys youhave behind you, Connor and the frozen finals had. So can you tellcan you got to walk us through your timeline about how you got here todayand where you're at right now? Yeah, so I al still start with myself. I'm from Minnesota. Grew up playing youth and high school Minnesota.Had A had a pretty good high school career. Had the opportunity to signwith a a North American team out of high school and that summer things whensouth of them things fell through, I was kind of start of like thewhole mental client for myself. I end up playing for the for the JerseyHitman. Played for three teams in that within that organization, which is probablyprobably pretty in common. But, you...

...know, went out there for ayear, didn't I hadn't really known what the East Coast looked like hockey wiseat that point. I just kind of need a team to go to andjust found it and went there. And so then from there, that summerI went to like five knal camps and which I highly recommend not doing that. Like I burned out. I basically hated hockey by the end of it, and the more I got cut from teams, like the worst I feltabout myself. I had I had just gone through like a tough like breakupoff the ice, which, you know, it's it's something that guys, Ifeel like try not to get sad about or worried about, like that'sjust how life is like. You have to embrace that. So I hada really rough summer. I that was my well, I guess I gotdepressed my sophomore year high school. It was wasn't as bad as this timeall. The second time around it was like ten times worse. I kindof just sat on it and was like, you know, I'm just gonna tohockey, take take control my life and put all my time for itshockey, which I mean physically it helped, but mentally didn't. I was ignoringthe problems I was going through, and so I had been working withsports psychologists for like like a half a year to that point for some reason, and utilize them. I thought, you know, I was tough forthan what I was going through. So I, you know, try toget through to my own which was a mistake and neither just needless to say, like the summer was miserable for me, like I I wouldn't have wished thatupon my worst out of me. Like what I went through, andI mean now I'm comfortable talking about obviously, because like yeah, that's just thestuff that you had, like that's why we're doing this. is likeeverybody goes through this stuff and sometimes it's hard to like recomend as you're actuallygoing through it or like recognize that you need to talk to somebody about it. But so ill other than that. So that's summer happening. I endup out of BGR. Honestly, like was kind of alastminute thing. Richardnever see me play before and it was just it's like I was just goingoff of what he'd heard from somebody else. So I went there. I honestlyI'd never really gotten better mentally when I first got there. I'd say, honestly, for the first half of the season I was like I wasstill in a pretty dark state. We all live in apartments together and itwas a lot of fun in my like my roommates were great. I shouldhave I should have felt come from up talking with them about it, butI for some reason didn't. But I was like I was staying at drinkfor like seven, eight hours a day, like I was. I get I'dbe there like when when the P team is practicing, if that saysanything like it was. They were a long days and I think part ofit was just like because when I went home I just feel so gray andlike so sad and like I'd be miserable. So I was like, all right, I'm gonna try to stay a drink as long as possible so Ican like ignore that and and it's obviously not the right approach to it.I was staying busy for the wrong reasons. And but the scariest part was likeI was playing good, like I was having a good I mean Ihad a rough start this season, but like I was starting to figure itout. And I'm like, well, if I'm playing good hockey, likeI don't need to take care of the other stuff. But that's just notyeah, how it goes. So I had finished out that, you're honestlylike, when I came back for the second half, mentally I felt somuch better, like I had talked my sports psychologist really broke down like theroot of my problems, and since then I've been happiest ever been to them. This season. I end up making the Minnesota wilderness and and I startedthe season of them. Got Cut for the first Games and Jodan BG areprobably mid October. And I mean obviously that what a managual run that was. I mean copy my junior hockey care off of the championship was was unrealand I still, like it hasn't really...

...hit me yet. So well,I want to, I want to get into that mental side of things here. Assume but I want to hear Adam story next, because this is whereyou kind of become similar. Is, yes, your junior career is overnow, but you ended it your final season. That's a captain. Andnow this upcoming year for Adam, his final season, he'sy to be acaptain also. Add he can't take us through what led you to this momentin your career? Yeah, so we'll start all the way back to youbusiness. Both threw up in the Minnesota System, which is actually pretty differentthan the mass system we've come to see. Like we play community hockey here.So basically I was in a whole organization with kids that would like thesame exactly neighborhood and like within five minutes. We all grew up together all theway up from age five to thirteen. So I played there from St Paul, Minnesota, so it was just like the city kids, and thenI went to St Paul Academy, Played Four years on high school hockey there. Went to the state term it my freshman year. I was awesome,played in front of like Twelvezero fans and then my junior senior year I wasnamed captain. I had a really great high school hockey experience. Thought Iwas kind of getting close to the I A my senior year, talked toa couple different teams. Thought I was very close to a tender offer.I was talking literally for five months of the team and they kept like batingme with it and then taken it away and I was like getting really,really angry and I had been to camps before, like after my junior year, and I was kind of just waiting on that tender offer, trying tofigure out where to go after high school. And around May I think my trainertold me like Hey, like, I don't think you can get thattender offer and I don't like the idea of you going to any camps unprotected. So he had me signed with the eighteen team and Su falls that Ihad. I had no clue anything about. They didn't have a coach at thetime, but basically they get an automatic bited nationals every year, whichis a great exposure for eighteen. You Hockey? Yeah, so I decidedto sign with them. A great facilities everything. I mean we use alot of the USAHL facilities down there too, which was awesome, and I hada really tough season that year. That was the worst season my life. I lived with my coach, who I'd never but before we lived inthe town house, and my other roommate and I didn't like necessarily get along. My coach and I really didn't, really didn't click. He had areally different view on hockey than I did and it's tough when you have togo home like every single night after practice when either like you a nice screamingat are things like that, and I just kind of go to my roomaround like eight o'clock every night and like try and avoid talking to him.So I was basically isolated for most of my time and Zoe falls and likeme and my teammates and really hang out there. Wasn't that that escape likewe have at Bjr, which is really nice. Yeah, so I hada really poor experience and things just kind of cycled in the wrong way.But I did work really hard. My coach did actually put me on areally good stick handeling program. I did that for like an hour almost everysingle day all your got much better at hockey actually, and I ended upsigning a tender with the Minnesota Edians in the NA around around the same timeI signed was Bjr. So I signed with Bjr kind of as a almosta safety thing with just covid hit and I like figured I needed a team. There's something, something to play for next year. And Yeah, soI worked all summer trying to make the magician and I I did make iton a training camp, or I did...

...make it to training camp. Iwas there for about five weeks. It was like the longest little training trainingcamp I ever been a part of. And then I ended up getting caughtonce a lot of NA teams, in ushl teams folded. They brought likeseven or eight new guys and when that happened, so I saw the writingon the wall and I knew there's a great spot of bj are at thatand I could go to and the team had a ton of success the yearbefore and they guys like Biz that I'd heard of, or both Minnesota Boys, and our team ended up having like it was six guys, sending guysfrom Minnesota this year. So it was really comfortable transition for me too,and I kind of bounced around, like living on couches, living in differentapartments throughout the year, but I had much better living situations, even thoughI was bouncing around. I had a great time playing there this year andthings really cleared up in my head this year. I'm really happy to goback there next year as a captain. So it really excited to repeat too. I like that. So you each have have great stories that a kindof led you this moment. And I fought an interesting because this past weekand I was out in Denver, Colorado for the CCM showcase, which featuredit over foder players that are looking for home for this upcoming year and allthe parents. That the most common questions they asked or about, you know, Post Grad Hockey, and you know it all sounds great. You knowyou don't have as many classes to take and this and that, but bothof you went through experiences where mentally it wasn't as great as it may seemfrom the outside and you would find yourselves, it sounds like, spending even moretime at the rink because it was your your safest, your safest spotto be. Can you can, either of you can, start with thisfirst. Can you kind of talk more about why the rink was such asafe haven for you guys, busy that you got this all with? Mytwo years of BG are like. We had such tight knit groups that whenI was at the rink, like I mean, like I said earlier,like I was trying to avoid the things I was going through off the ice. But the same time, I I there is love being with the guysand and getting better with them. And, you know, rich riches made sucha good culture there. That, I mean, that's all. That'sall. This for a lot of other guys too, like we just wantto be there as long as possible and even like it's crazy because, like, we all live with each other, so it's like we see each otheroff the ice anyways, like, but we still want to stay at therink and just you know, either whether it's like working on after pushing eachother get better, just just lear you just sitting there and talking like there'sa there's a fee, a comfortability factor when it comes to that, andI don't know, I just think you get stock. That's all. Zooka, I kind of Gott in a wanting to do this. was like wehave liked conversations after workout or something like. You get to know more about theguys in your team and like guys I've come from different places and youget to hear their stories and, like you guys can talk about the strugglesthat you both share and things like that. So yeah, and then, Adam, let's kind of look at it from a different perspective, because we'veobviously covered you both from Minnesota. You both actually started in your home statethis past year and both got cut in your home state this past year andthen ended up north of Boston. Can you just talk about, like whatdoes it feel like to honestly get cut? The walk out of the rink isthe hardest part. Yeah, like, I had no clue either to saylike by the boys, because I knew it's like I knew tended twelveguys on the team already, like yeah, I'd grown up with a few ofthem. Like it was really tough. And then I kind of spent thisactually a pretty good story. It's...

...pretty dramatic, but we so Ididn't I say t that I was going to take that weekend in Duluth,about two hours north. I got caught on on like a Wednesday and Italked to my adviser on the Kay like I'd really like to try and stayin the and I are staying like tier to hockey. But like this thiswas around the time where everybody was kind of getting caught. So like everyonewas like they're probably hundreds of kids trying to find at homes. So myadviser spent a couple days like looking around making calls to guys he knew,because I didn't. This is the like your second year junior or first firstyear, you really want to try and stay into too as long as youcan. Yeah, but like I got a call around like Friday and he'slike yeah, like I'm gonna have you go to b Jr and like Ididn't. I didn't know anything about it. Like again, like bit said richand seeing me play, like I didn't know a single guy in theteam and I'd be going across the country. I also I also had a girlfriendat the time and I was and she was going to school around myhouse, so I could see her all the time. So I kind ofhad to break that off to which was also difficult. So all this stuffwas kind of spinning in my head and like all my way to my satlike seven in the morning after I got that call, like I had topull my car over and at like like threw up on like the side ofthe road. There's like there's like so much like going on in my head. I was just so overwhelmed. Its crazy and I didn't know like howto deal with it early, but I took it. I drove myself outto Bjr all alone. It was like a twenty two hour car right.It was nuts, and found a home. It was really awesome. And youguys have such incredible experiences and then you come out of this season.You need create this new company, if you will, and because you wantto be able to share your stories. And the most common thing I seeon your website that stands out and on your social media, you guys usethe word free hundreds of times. Why did that means so much to youto offer a free service to anyone in anyone out there? I can takeyou. I'm busy. As you go through juniors, you see how muchstuff costs. You see free draft cans that cost five hundred dollars to playfour games. Yeah, and like your opportunity out of that is so low, like out of like a five team all pre draft camp, or likethey're like different advisors. There's not. There's not all like that. Adviceis very good advice. II The great advisor myself, but that will reallyjust scam me out of money. And we were talking about this where,like we don't want to be like some like a group in nineteen twenty yearolds trying to make a profit off like fourteen through through twenty year olds orthings like that. And Yeah, we just thought having it free would bea much more inviting and open opportunity. Plus, it's not like we havedegrees in anything, so it's not we we just have a wealth of experience. So we're not really going to try and make a profit off of kidslike that. And it doesn't it doesn't take money for it. Sorry,it was to stay like it doesn't take money for us to be good peopleand do the right thing. Like I think you know, we honestly justwant to provide a resource that we wish we had when we were, youknow, two years younger, we were just starting high school or to startin junior. It's like it's I mean there's a hole that needs to befilled in the junior high, high school and junior hockey world. Like that'sjust what we want to provide, like we don't need, they don't needto gain anything off and financially. So yeah, and now you guys havethe experience of having played through a pandemic season. So let's Connor. Wouldstart with you first, to have your first year with the Rangers and noteven having the chance to play in a...

...playoff game, but but knowing thatthe team what had as good a chance as anyone to win the championship,and then coming back for your age out year with the uncertainty of kind ofwhat laid ahead. How did you cope with all that? Yeah, Imean this year's been crazy for everybody, obviously, and I I was sosad when everything got shut down last year, as was everyone else, but itwas it was weird because, like, for me, like I want tomake a tear to team, and I knew that, but I alsoloved like Bgr and I was like, I don't know if I want toif I want to leave or what, and so it was hard getting itwas hardly moving on from what happened the previous spring in the previous season,just know like like knowing that we wouldn't know what happened. Like they're likethat was that there is always going to be an unknown there. So Imean I got over that as a summer went on and then honestly, likeI did not think our team this year is going to be even close towhat we worthy year before, which is crazy. It's crazy as it soundslike. I yeah, throughout the summer I'm like all like, let's beso hard to like Redo what we did last season, everything like that.But I think within the first week of me coming back to B Gr Iwas like, yeah, I think we're a little bit better, honestly.So, no, it's I mean this year has been so hard for everybodyand I think that's what like, like people don't give themselves enough credit forwhat we've had to go through this year. And I mean I think our greatestability is the ability to adapt to situations. I think everyone had todo that this season with all the restrictions and you know, and I havinga lock room for aft the season, and obviously you guys did a greatjob of, you know, keeping US playing and finding place for us toplay, and obviously everything that happened to the finals was was tremendous. SoI mean it's been a hard year but honestly, I think it builds alot of character and people. So, and Adam, speaking of adapting toget to the month of February, to be that close to the finish linein to stuffer an injury like you did, did you find yourself at you knowwhenever at night, thinking of yourself? Thank God am at no one,not an age shout. Yeah, I actually thought that all the time. It was. Yeah, I was a really tough situation. I likeshattered my hand pre game war ups playing soccer and required surgery. So Iwas out for I was off for two months and I missed the entire frozenfinals and our championship run, which which sucked. But yeah, I asa know what. I talked to rich and he's like yeah, like,this sucks a lot, but we'll get you back next year and you'll bethen. You'll be fired up even more. You'll be ready to go next year. And the process of recovery was tough because I'd also crash my carlike three days before, so I didn't have a car either because basically stuckwith a broken hand in my apartment and I couldn't really like get out,which was tough on the mental. But again, I'd been through this beforeand sue falls. I'd also suffered injury and sue falls and I knew waysto cope with that and I filled my time up doing productive things and takingcare of my mental health. Starting Fha was huge too. I spat.I spent a lot of time doing that. And then, yeah, just stayingfocused on the goal, being as helpful of my teammates as I could. I went to the drink every day, showed up to practice, I'd Watch, I'd Philip Waters, I'd get sticks, I and in the finalsI drag gloves. I'd get as fast.

I didn't take a moment off.So, yeah, I'm more than fired up for next season. I'mfully recovered. I'm ready to go. was there ever a thought in yourmind that I'm injured, I know I can't come back this year, whydon't I just go home? Or was it always I want to stay withthe team? Yeah, so, like three weeks and there's a kid fromnorthern Ceyglans NCDC, hanging out with one of my teammates in our apartment andwe're just talking. He is like, well, if you're not going toplay there ask season, like why don't you just, yeah, go home? Yeah, and I was like, I never even thought to do that. Yeah, I I had like some of my best friends out there andif I go on home I would have been all alone. And like it'shuge for next year, like I get to see the entire process of whatwinners and the championship Locker Room looks like, like how to respond after bad periods, like I'd be in the locker room at all time. So Idon't really feel like I missed out on a whole lot other than obvious likeindividual purposes we had. We had a great player in Ethan heiderproom come tothe team right after, right after I got injured. You filled field ahuge role there. So yeah, I'm I'm happy about that. And youuse the keyword adversity. So I want to shift it back to Connor,because we get to the championship game, which I know for me personally,I felt like two years in the making. I'm sure the same could be saidfor you and you guys fall behind in that game, not one nothing, but to nothing heading into the third period. Of course you know,most people know the history. You scored the game tying goal that moment inyour career. Where does it rank? I mean, I probably put itlike second behind the actual US winning the championship. It's tough. I blackout and situations like that, like I go back in like watch the videoof it and I'm like, I don't remember any of that happening because Iwas just so in the moment, like yeah, like it kind of inthat moment I was like, man, we actually just tied this up,like we might win a championship here. And it's weird to say that becausethroughout the whole game, like even when we were down, like we wereoddly calm, even in between periods. Like I think that that's that wasthe best part of our team is like we never really got fustered, evenif you're down the even the regular season, that happened so many times. Andto be on that big stage and be down, I was, Imean literally in a locker room like we're like Oh, like, yeah,we're down to nothing, but it's just going to make this story even betterwhen we come back and win and we're like we're all ready to go.So it was I mean, yeah, I remember going back to the benchafter after I scored, and I'm like ill, like we're actually like likethis is it now, like like we got a game. So it wasit's hard to explain honestly. So I'm assuming you have, but have youseen the picture of when you let the shock go and the goaltender for theavalanche is glove is literally inches away from stopping the pod? Have you seenthat picture? I have. Yeah, that's a really cool shot. Imean I give I mean you in the defenseman and from I get in herebecause he don't face first to block that shot. I'm like that's the playoffsright there. But I was, I mean I had just missed the sameplay like I think, ten seconds earlier from Andy and I'm like I ifI get this again, I gotta do something with that. So and let's. It's so funny you bring that up because the number of people that havecalled since the season's end and I got to tell the story of the finalsand whatnot. Like I think you guys ran that play five times at leastduring the game and then I finally connected right there at the end to helpsend the game to overtime. But then let's just talk about that, thatfinal moment for both of you when Johnny gets the breakaway and it feels likethe whole building kind of stop for a second and then the goal goes inand the season like in that moment ends,...

...like can you even describe the feeling? Yeah, I mean I just I had such a delayed reaction becauseit happened and I'm like, like, I saw Johnny go and I siderallythink much of that. I like, I like you, like whatever,I just gotten offs. I was pretty tired, like just and then,all said, everyone started jumping up and down on like I looked around,everyone's throwing their helmets and goes off. I'm like, oh my gosh,we just wanted like like if you look at if you look at any ofthe pictures of like us running in the pile, like I think I'm likethe last guy because I know who was going on. I was like Iwas so confused. But no, I think being a returner who you know, we obviously didn't get the opportunity to finish what we started there before.It was like it was just really if it's like like I almost thought backlike my whole junior career and I was like this is exactly like how Iwould have wanted to end. And I was like, I know for mostguys, like an engineers, is pretty sad and obviously, with the specialgroup we have like it that was the last time we were going to stepput on the Earth, step on the ice together. So yeah, itbut I couldn't be sad about I'm like we very just did this, likethere's like this is the best feeling ever. So I was. Yeah, likeI said, it's kind of hard to explain. Like it really tookme, like, I think, a good month to like fully grasp likewhat happened. Yeah, so before we wrap around, back to Fah foryou, Adam, to experience that. Obviously we talked about the injury,but then to be named captain for this upcoming year. How much pressure,honestly, do you feel for this upcoming season? There's a decent on ofpressure and I'm I'm excited to see the kids we we bring next year becauseI know a rich does a really, really good job recruiting, so Ihave full trust in him. I know will have a great group. It'sbut yeah, I actually them. I look back and I imagine the thingslike business done younger did Morsy Shafer, although all the different parts of leadershipthey had. Each each captain had a really different role on our team andI've been like going going through this offseason trying to decide, like what typeof role I'm best suited as as a leader, as I spent two yearsas a captain at St Paul Academy, so I do have a lot ofexperience with that. So I am really excited and I have a one ofmy best Buddys, Jack car, guess he's coming back. He's got he'sguy captain say too. We've been training together all summer and we've just beentalking nonstop about next season. He's going to be my roommate. Like we'remore than ready to go and any you know that the target on your backwill be huge throughout the entire lane. But then you know, we getto where we are now. We just crossed in the June and for manyplayers I always envisioned that when you guys get to the offseason, it's achance for you to in a way decompressed from the year that was and thenstart training. But then you guys come out with Fah what has been theoutreach so far and and hopefully, of course, after this interview it growseven more. But what how have you felt the outreach has been so far? For you guys, it's been all right. You know, we actuallyI think we tech, we launched in January and then we figured out thatwe had some things behind the scenes that we need to figure out before wecould even start talking to guys, and then the playoffs came around. Solike, okay, like I'm kind of vote another time to that, likewhy don't we just officially get going after the season, once we get home? So yeah, we've been like fully going for about a month or amonth and a half and honestly, like we've only talked to mainly guys thatwe've known previously. You're like that we've heard of. So it's a lotof Minnesota guys. Just got local guys. But the thing that like is reallyimportant right now is like a lot, like I said this, the season'sbeen so hard for a lot of...

...people and it's easy to let thisseason to ruin. Like what's to come with the rest of your junior career, high school career, whatever it is? It's like right now, like wewant to like talk to guys and on wine their season. You know, I think people probably have a lot of things in their chest they needto get off and things they need to like go from the previous season,thoise, it's going to ruin their next one. And saw. We're rightnow. We're walking guys through their previous season, kind of breaking down everythingthat's happened, everything that went wrong, like what what's what's up next,like what your goals? How are you going to do that? Stuff likethat. It's really important right now to transition and in the summer. AndYeah, obviously we want to get a lot more people, you know,involved. We want to get a lot more of the east coast guys,because we have like we know what it's like. Ohdi, you Steven,though we're from Minnesota. So yeah, and and obviously you guys offer youthe chance to talk to checks, talk on the phone, video conferencing,all that. You have a blog going as well and I read a fewof your blog post before I got on this interview and I don't want togo through every story because I want people to go back and read the blogas well. But there was one story that Adam brought up in the fivethings you wish you knew as high school senior and you point out that youdidn't. You should not burn bridges, can you? Can you just tellthat story so we haven't here on the podcast to because it's a pretty it'spretty awesome story. Yeah, so my senior year I kind of talked abouthow those NA teams were kind of a sick room for way longer than Ishould have, Baden and whatever. So I also have like two very topand a three teams reach out. One was that. One was north IIHwhere they ended up winning the end it through this year. Yeah, andthey wanted me to come skate with them for the rest of the season.I finish the year with them, and there's this huge I even had itlike people don't want to go play like tears three hockey. They want theywant to hold that that tier too standard or Tier One, and I didn'twant to like I thought. I thought at that time I was I wastoo good. I shouldn't have ended up there. So these coaches are beingso nice. We had like hour long calls. They were they kept reachingout, checking in on how I was doing, and then there would bedays on days right I just wouldn't respond, like I didn't know how to liketalk to them. I didn't know how to respond to a text,how to say know how to but like at the same time be respectful andkeep keep those relationships going. And two of those head coaches that I talkedto as I go through the offseason, I who I had ended up likethe final text was like they had three tax waiting for me that I've hadresponded to. And and then I probably two months later, I see onecoach is named like head coach of an n a team, one and anyteam that I was like talking to the whole year, as funny as thatis. Yeah, and then the next year one of the coaches was namedlike associate head coach of another an a team, and I'm like looking atthem like well, I can kind of scratch those two off my list.And and that doesn't even like encapsulate everything. Like they talked. Coaches talk likecoaches will ask another coach about what they think of a player. Yeah, you, whether that be college has other junior teams. Yeah, soI made a mistake there. I don't know, I don't even know inwhat and what totally it cost me. Yeah, but it's something that weteach at Fah a. We say hey, like this coach is nice enough toreally like your gay like to talk to you after. You really likedall you played. Like take that compliment and build that relationship. WHO caresif they're two three coaches all the time?...

Yep, and as I set upthe CCM showcase this past weekend, you know a lot of two orthree players in our League of course end up at division two and three schools, but you can get a strong academic experience at those schools as well,and I'm sure you're going to get that chance, connor, that you knowthis fall when you had to the SUNIAC, when you come back to the EHshell and you're one of the top, we probably could say five fowards inthe League pointwise, and you start to get offers. How many differentcollege coaches were you talking to? And then how did you finalize your decisionto pick buff state? Yeah, so I honestly I like my first yearwith Bjr. I had like a handful of offers to play it that fall. It's still like not not going with my age out year and you know, I think around Christmas time that first year I decided, like I wantto age out, whether it's with BGR, with a true to team whatever,and so like I had had some traction talking to schools from that previousyear. Obviously when we had the showcases that you're that was huge. LikeI remember our first showcase was in Walpole and I, you know, Ihad heard of the showcases, didn't really know much of them, and Iwas like I have walked outside of our first game. I think we'd playedthe the rough riders, and literally the Hallway was just line with college coachesand they were all for our team and I'm like, oh my gosh.I'm like this is really how it is, like this is this is pretty thisis pretty cool. But no. So then this year, like Ihadn't reached out to I mean I had some coaches that had contacted or stayin touch with them the summer, but I didn't really start reaching out tolike the East Coast schools until I was driving out to Boston when I gotcut from willerness. I think that's the most important thing too. I thinkplayers sometimes sit and way for coaches to come talk to them and sometimes youhave to spark up that conversation and and take marries in your own hands,and so I did that. I reach out to a bunch of schools.It was kind of crazy. I was driving over with my dad and likeI mean I don't mean like Bragg like if like I felt like it waslike every like twenty minutes I was getting a call from a different school.It was awesome because I'm like, well, this is exactly what I want,like I want to I'm going to a team where I'm going to havea big role, I'm gonna be able to play a lot and like nowI have these no, I have these eyes on me. So, youknow, I think once I didn't really know what I wanted to do fora major, and I think that's kind of a play. The biggest rolein my decision was I like, I think around Christmas time, I decideI want to go in to engineering, and obviously not a lot of schoolsoffer that. So I kind of narrowed my list down pretty good. Yeah, and yeah, so I got down about I like like for schools.I like I generally really wanted to play hockey at and I really wanted togo study at and it was a tough decision in the end. But,like I it was funny, like I was talking to like talking Nathan Young, and we basically he was in the same boat as I was and weboth had two schools that we really were interested in. Like it was likea like a coin flip between the two, and we walked each other through likethe criteria, like what we're looking for and like what the school provides. We both like looked at each other like we both have one school thatchecks all these boxes, like why aren't we just committing there? And sothen we both committed, like right then. I was like, okay, well, that that's it. I mean, once I committed, like I wasjust so like relaxed with the season, like I'd I didn't have to worryabout, you know, whether when I was going to commit or whetherI was going to be able to find a school. I got to takecare of, and I mean obviously a lot of it has to do withthe HL and like the way you guys set things up, but it wasit was a good process and I definitely enjoyed it. And Adam, I'msure I hopefully you're kindally coming right towards...

...the start of next season for youtoo. So you guys have, yes, of awesome stories. You've both beenthrough so much, both on and off the ice. Some some similaritiesand some differences, of course. I want to make sure, though,that that the players that are out there right now and no to get incontact with you, because I brought up the CC. I'm showcased a fewtimes and you guys have mentioned advised aasors and coaches and whatnot and the resourcesthat they are. But I think the biggest message coming out of this,this episode of the Podcast, is one of the best resources that players couldhave our players themselves, because that are in their exact same shoes, andthat's the whole idea, I would imagine, behind Faha. So we're going toget this podcast out later today and hopefully after the podcast the number ofplayers we see out to you continues to grow. Yeah, and and thebest ways to contact us or we have a contact page on our website orlike direct message US anytime at our instagram or twitter accounts. It's at Fahamentors, and you guys have your phone numbers on there as well, soit's you mean. You guys responded to me right away about this and again, thank you so much for coming on and enjoy the rest of the offseason, conner. Good luck this fall. Hopefully you can come back and catcha few EHL Games and Adam l see you in September. Yeah, it'sin the thanks for having us. I thank you, neal. Thanks forlistening to the show. Learn more at Eastern Hockey League Dot Org and followus on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Youtube. Also, be sure tosubscribe and get notified when next week's PODCAST is released.

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