For a 17-year-old, Stamford's Ryan Haggerty gets around. His fall travel itinerary included stops in Sweden, Maine, Colorado, Iowa and his temporary home in Michigan. "It's a grind, but you have to battle through it,'' says Ryan, who traveled to the different locales with U.S.A. Hockey's Developmental Team. "It's like an American Hockey League schedule. It's a good learning experience."
Haggerty played hockey for two years at Trinity Catholic before getting selected to play for the Developmental Team. Westport's Michael Paliotta is also a member of the team. It plays against college squads and teams of the United States Hockey League. The highlight for the team thus far this season was its win in the Four Nations Cup in November in Switzerland. Haggerty's best game came in a 8-1 win over Chicago of the USHL on Dec. 11, when the forward netted two goals. He has three goals and six assists.
"It's definitely harder than what you expect,'' Ryan said. "It just depends what you need to get better at. I think I've become a much more well-rounded player. I still like to put the puck in the back of the net. I think I've become more reliable in a lot of different areas."
The Developmental Team plays consecutive games, primarily on weekends. The squad is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Ryan and his teammates attend public school. An academic aide assists the team on weekend trips. The U-18 squad makes its lone state appearance in January when it plays at Quinnipiac on Jan. 22.
The schedule is hectic. Team USA started its season in September, and has played 28 games. It goes until April and the U18 World Championship in Germany. There are two games every weekend. "You go through your ups and downs,'' Haggerty said. "The pressure pushes you to get better and better."
When the season concludes, Ryan will focus on preparing for his college career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Coming out of our program, it will be an adjustment, but I don't think it will be that different,'' Ryan said. "The speed of the game will be a little different. They really wanted me, and I had a lot of offers. I had a good feeling about it. I hope to be able to go in there and play a lot as a freshman."
Haggerty had a wondrous two years at Trinity, helping the Crusaders reach the semifinals in the Division II tournament as a freshman and the Division I tournament as a sophomore. His father, Roger, coaches Ryan's younger brother, Shane, in the Stamford Sharks program. "I miss the school a little bit and it's nice to be home for a little while,'' Ryan said. "Sometimes you have to move for you to grow as a person. I'm texting with my friends all the time. I still like to know what's going on."
Do you know of other players from the area on U.S. teams? Contact Tom Renner at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know !
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