Last season, Chris Aarons helped lead the NH Avalanche to an EHL championship and the New York native is hoping to do the same thing this season now that he’s a captain.
Aarons came up through the youth system in New York and eventually got the chance to play at Trinity-Pawling. Aarons is hoping to turn a successful season — he has nine points in 11 games — into a chance to play college hockey next season.
Neutral Zone: How did you get connected with the NH Avalanche and what has been the experience like playing for them?
Aarons: “Both my split-season and prep coaches suggested the program to me. I went out and loved what I saw. Our coach takes a lot of time when picking the players we have on the roster and he only takes guys who he thinks will work hard to be successful. There’s no choice, when you play for him, you have to work hard. If you don’t, you’re not going to play. That makes our practices really competitive and everyone gets better. So, that leads to wins and guys being able to play at higher levels.”
NZ: What are the practices like?
Aarons: “They’re very high-tempo. There is a lot of puck movement. Everyone is going 100 miles per hour. It feels hectic sometimes, but that chaos gets us ready for games and makes us better.”
NZ: I would imagine, if the player selection is as detailed as you described, that pace is something the players embrace?
Aarons: “For sure. Our style is fast-paced hockey. You’re always looking for good shots or options. The way we play, it’s so fast it creates a lot of opportunities.”
NZ: What’s your hockey history? When did you start playing?
Aarons: “I was probably four. I came up through the youth system in Queensbury, N.Y. I played for Adirondack Youth Hockey up until bantams and then I went to the Titans. I played U16 and then went to prep school and that got me to where I am today.”
NZ: You also played for Hockey Essentials as well, right? In the summer?
Aarons: “Yeah, I played with them for probably six summers. That led to a lot of opportunities for me. They brought me to their college showcase in Woodbridge. Hockey Essentials kind of set me up for prep school, because my prep coach (Robert Ferraris) was at Mercyhurst and then took the job at Trinity-Pawling. He saw me when I played for Hockey Essentials and that’s what got me the chance to go to prep.”
NZ: Did you have hockey in your family growing up?
Aarons: “Kind of. My mom and dad would host players when I was a kid, but neither one of them played hockey. My dad played football and my mom was a cheerleader; they’re both from Florida. My dad went to Stetson and broke his ankle and had surgery. He was in bed for a while and started watching hockey and just fell in love with it. So, my brother and I are first-generation hockey players in our family.”
NZ: What are some of your goals for this year?
Aarons: “I want to win a championship again. That’s the most important thing.
“Personally, I’d like for this to be my last year of juniors. I still have another year of eligibility, but I’d like to be able to go to school at the end of this year. We’ll see, though. Right now my focus is on winning another championship.”
NZ: Have you been talking to schools?
Aarons: “Yeah, there were probably four or five last year that were serious and a few already this year.”