Jeremy Swayman’s journey to getting a top goaltending prospect

Ken Swayman applied to perch his son, Jeremy, on his lap in a backpack as the two of them observed the University of Alaska-Anchorage men’s hockey online games with intensity.

a person riding a snow board

© University of Maine Athletics

Other occasions, Jeremy squatted on the lap of his more mature sister, Beth. The blare of the purpose horn compelled Ken to routinely protect his toddler son’s ears.

Whilst Ken eyeballed the match from their seats at the rear of the internet, Jeremy was infatuated with the person patrolling the blue paint. Other little ones habitually wailed and banged on the glass anytime a particularly stirring participate in transpired, but Jeremy remained fixated on the male who was the final line of protection.

As a teen, Jeremy matriculated into a skillful prospect. He performed for South Anchorage Higher School and routinely attended a variety of camps in the Alaska region (albeit not because he been given an invitation).

Even though some others have been garnering the praise and awareness that Jeremy craved, he understood that his time to make an effects on scouts was dwindling.

“I was not a United states of america Hockey darling by any implies,” reminisced Jeremy.

Jeremy worked closely with Steve Thompson, who owned the Alaska Goaltending Academy. Thompson is now the American Development Model supervisor of goaltending for United states of america Hockey and was section of the coaching staff that led Team Usa to a gold medal at the 2019 IIHF Women’s Earth Championship.

Jeremy and Thompson very first related throughout the 2014-15 season, heading to find festivals, which inevitably designed into summertime exercise sessions and camps.

Apart from Jeremy’s organic capability, a person attribute shone as a result of:

“Passion – that’s wherever he stands out,” stated Thompson. “He constantly has a smile on his encounter. I just can’t feel of 1 time that he’s in a undesirable temper.”

The duo transitioned from a standard mentor and university student romantic relationship to a own friendship. While they drilled goalie fundamentals, this sort of as diverse readily available reads, depth management, and giving web to get web, the two targeted on the psychological side of the activity more than just about anything else.

Jeremy and Thompson are equally learners of the video game, hence organic discussion abounded as the two bounced ideas off just one one more like mad scientists – think Tony Stark and Bruce Banner were alongside one another in a lab.

Both of those are avid outdoor lovers and utilized mom mother nature as an region to bond and prepare the mind, alternatively than drill the complexities of X’s and O’s. Jeremy and Thompson ran mountains jointly (sure, you read that the right way – RAN mountains), with Thompson sneaking in the occasional win (although he did notice that “Jeremy can kick me up and down the mountains”).

Over and above their regular banter, the congenial pair would engage in semantics about how to mentor youthful goaltenders, how to be the most effective possible teammate, and how to keep away from allowing the unavoidable “cheeseball” intention allowed derail the relaxation of the sport and future performances.

“I do assume what stands about Jeremy (as opposed to his friends) is how disciplined and inspired he is,” explained Thompson. “There are some young ones that entirely want to be travellers. There are so lots of ‘yes men’, but Jeremy is not afraid to question thoughts. He’s not frightened to supply his very own input.”

Thompson factors to Ken’s job as a health care provider and the self-discipline required to be effective in that field, alongside with their inseparable father/son marriage as chief causes for Jeremy’s unrelenting work ethic and commitment to his craft.

“He’s certainly a dad’s boy,” claimed Ken. “Just to make him satisfied intended every little thing to me. He carries himself with such a skilled mentality. What I’m so proud of Jeremy, further than his accolades, is the person he’s becoming.”

After remaining slash from the Kenai River Brown Bears of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), Jeremy relocated from Alaska to Colorado Springs, Colorado to perform for the Pikes Peak Miners.

From there, all the things improved.

Greg Vanover, the head mentor of the Miners, was the initially coach that struck property for Jeremy.

Vanover, who now is the head mentor of the U16 Rocky Mountain Roughriders, coached the Miners for 8 yrs. He progressed over 60 gamers, which include Tampa Bay Lightning forward Blake Coleman, to the United States Hockey League (USHL), NAHL, and other major junior leagues. He also worked with the Dallas Stars rookie camp, assisting with the toughness and conditioning off-ice plan.

Admittedly, Jeremy’s instruction was bereft before connecting with Vanover. Many Rough Riders players vocally caught up for Jeremy’s inclusion on the workforce, despite the roster by now remaining finalized.

On a cellphone connect with, Jeremy instructed Vanover that he was likely to work difficult and earn the crew hockey online games. Less than Vanover, Jeremy discovered how to work and contend at a substantial amount just about every day.

“I’ve under no circumstances worked so difficult in a season,” recalls Jeremy, reflecting on the many wind sprints performed in parking tons.

Vanover insidiously advised Jeremy a person working day pregame that if he permit in a shot through warmups that the goaltender would be functioning a keep track of fulfill in the parking ton right after the match. Ever inspired by a challenge, Jeremy would admonish teammates if they did not shoot tricky in heat-ups, galvanizing them into strafing him with rubber. That night time, Jeremy posted a 39-help you save shutout.

A different time, Vanover didn’t announce a starting up goaltender. Jeremy held glancing at the head mentor, awaiting a nod in his route to sign that the net was his. Vanover wanted to see how Jeremy would react in the scenario, and he did not disappoint.

Soon after no commencing goaltender was announced, Jeremy skated out for warmups and immediately commandeered the blue paint. Vanover cracked a wry smile. It was Jeremy’s web.

A 7 days out from the USHL draft, Vanover was on the phone with former Sioux Falls head mentor Scott Owens. Vanover articulated to Owens that Jeremy was “legit” and that he would be their quantity-a single goaltender.

Jeremy had currently told Owens that. A calendar year later on, Jeremy advised the College of Maine coaching employees the very same thing. Jeremy would be the number-a person goaltender on all of individuals groups. Inspite of his aggressive streak, Vanover lauded that Jeremy is an outstanding teammate, who is extremely supportive of his peers and very coachable.

Jeremy was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fourth spherical of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 111th all round, just before ever donning Maine Blue, white, and navy.

“There was no doubt, ever, that that kid was likely to be a hockey player,” claimed Vanover.

Swayman stepped on to campus in Orono, a disconcerting 4,452 miles from his family members in Anchorage, with an insatiable urge to assistance the workforce gain straight away. That year, Jeremy finished 3rd amid freshman goaltenders with 31 appearances, earning 7 Hockey East honors in the method and securing a place on the Hockey East All-Rookie crew.

In his sophomore campaign, Jeremy finished fourth in the nation in will save immediately after he commanded the web for 35 of the Black Bears’ 36 contests. A 4-time meeting defensive player of the week, the goaltender affectionately nicknamed ‘Sway’ gained Third Staff Hockey East Convention All-Star.

“I knew if I stopped the puck at the College of Maine, I’d get the probability to proceed to do so skillfully,” mentioned Jeremy.

Though he absolutely impressed in his very first two go-rounds, Jeremy took an expeditious leap in his 3rd 12 months. Not only did he backstop Maine to its optimum complete in the Hockey East conference in 8 several years, he took home adequate components to fill a House Depot.

Jeremy gained the Mike Richter award, bestowed on school hockey’s best goaltender. He was a finalist for school hockey’s most prestigious award, the Hobey Baker, which is offered to the nation’s leading university hockey player. The Hockey East participant and goaltender of the calendar year and to start with-crew All-American also won the Walter Brown award, allocated to New England’s finest American-born hockey player.

He owns the university’s solitary time history for most will save in a season, albeit 1 reduce small by COVID-19. His 1,099 will save topped the nation and he completed with the country’s third maximum conserve share, a whopping .939%.

How’s that for a period, huh?

In spite of developing a year so superb that it demanded an expanded trophy case, Jeremy’s fondest memory was the final recreation of his college or university vocation.

This singular activity intended a lot more to him than the collection from archrival College of New Hampshire Wildcats. No, not mainly because it was his final game at Alfond Arena – it was senior evening. He required to honor these who battled in entrance of him a acquire on their last evening. Swayman developed a Superman-like effort, stopping all 48 pictures he faced.

“That’s the evolution of Jeremy,” mentioned Alfie Michaud, an assistant coach at the College of Maine. “He’s starting to get it. He’s enjoying for other folks apart from himself.”

Jeremy’s ascent to college hockey stardom was not by accident. In the course of the season, he shifted his food plan to a plant-based method. What in the beginning was carried out as a nutritious change to a Mediterranean diet, significant on veggies, grain bowls, and wraps, veered to entire vegan.

“I just required to get an edge,” he stated. “I had viewed this documentary about nourishment and the positive aspects of likely vegan and I received all fired up. I informed my trainer that I was going vegan,” stated Jeremy.

Jeremy judiciously stuck to the refreshing diet program, not even telling his trainer for the 1st two weeks. After people 14 times, the team coach seen that Jeremy experienced slice 11 lbs and his coronary heart rate had decreased. Jeremy giddily educated him of his diet plan improve, pointing out how a great deal faster he was recovering from his taxing teaching and on-ice classes.

Jeremy plays all around 193-195 lbs generally, adding all around 5 lbs . through the offseason. Even though he applied to eat purple meat three times a week, his swap to a plant-dependent diet has saved his fat down when improving his restoration and effectiveness. His pre-match program – if you can contact it that – has remained the very same, a not-as well-superstitious mix of stretching and fundamental hand-eye coordination drills.

“Jeremy’s done a terrific work earning all those possibilities – I mean, do you want to have a h2o or a pop?” claimed Michaud.

Michaud, a former College of Maine standout amongst the pipes himself, credited Jeremy’s perform ethic, coachability, and willingness to regularly check out new things as pillars to his good results.

Each Jeremy and Ken spoke glowingly about Jeremy’s relationship and marriage with Michaud – Jeremy has referred to Michaud as a second father.

“I’m just a grumpy old male,” Michaud drolly reported.

Michaud’s make a difference-of-actuality way of coaching and Jeremy’s sponge-like absorption of information produced a great believe in amongst the duo, forged from Michaud valuing understanding Jeremy as a particular person ahead of him as a hockey player. The two would commit three goalie sessions a week jointly, in addition to a video session.

Jeremy viewing Michaud as the two a mentor and a next father speaks volumes to his connection with his very own old guy.

The two share a particular link, solid by hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing from a youthful age. Jeremy would accompany Ken on his out of doors adventures, fitting cozily in the exact backpack that he did when Ken would bear him to hockey rinks.

As Jeremy has developed, so have the adventures: climbing in Estes Park, Colorado, a 107-mile hike in North Cascades, Washington, and camping out for several months at a time in Denali Nationwide Park in Alaska. The two ended up meant to undertaking to Mt. Everest base camp and summit the 18,514 foot Kala Patthar, which rests in the Himalayas in Nepal.

Just before embarking on much more father/son adventures hikes, Jeremy will look to climb the Bruins’ depth chart.

At the rear of founded veterans Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, ‘Sway’ will contend with touted prospects Daniel Vladar and Kyle Keyser for taking part in time in the long run.

Jeremy’s aggressive mother nature, ever-strengthening skill, and affable temperament lend properly for securing a spot in Boston in the not-also-distant long term.

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