Regardless of the challenge, first-year goaltender Ethan Haider of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) team, the Minnesota Magicians, thinks he could compete at almost any level.
His confidence on the ice is due to his willingness to learn and urge to get stronger, head coach A.J. Bucchino said.
Haider, 17, is a Division One Clarkson University commit and is listed as one of the players to watch on the National Hockey League (NHL) central scouting list. The Maple Grove, Minnesota native is one of the youngest players in the league – but that doesn’t stop him.
“I’ve always believed in myself,” Haider said.
Haider started skating when he was just 2-years-old. When he first touched the ice, he knew right away that he wanted to be a goalie.
Ever since Haider has been committed to the game.
As a first-year player, Haider is “tearing up the NAHL so far,” according to an article published in The Hockey News. Haider has a 0.928 save percentage and has made 15 appearances on the ice this season.
Haider also has 399 saves this season, posting as 10th in the league.
“I knew to go into it that it was a great league that moved players onto the next level,” Haider said. “[It] has had a great track record with goalies so I knew this is where I wanted to be this season.”
Bucchino is impressed with Haider’s performance so far and looks forward to seeing his progression as a Division One athlete.
Haider’s size in the net, ability to track the puck and fundamentals of the game are his strongest attributes as an NAHL player, according to Bucchino.
“He has a lot of respect for me, especially since I have experience playing as a goalie,” Bucchino said. “We’ve formed a really good relationship, but he has an enormous amount of people that try to help him have success.”
This isn’t Bucchino’s first time coaching the athlete. He first met him when Haider was a squirt player. But now that Haider is older, they agreed that they have a stronger relationship.
“[A.J. and assistant coach Gaven Bickford] are both great guys and mentors that love the game,” Haider said. “[They] help us get closer to our goal, winning a Robertson Cup Championship.”
As a Magicians goalie, Haider learned more about himself on and off the ice. He believes that his maturity and mental toughness improved the most.
To be the toughest in the net, Haider has a set routine before every game consisting of “hand-eye and tracking,” “lots of stretching” and “foam rolling.”
The athlete also prefers to eat chicken and pasta before suiting up.
After his career in the NAHL, Haider looks forward to playing at Clarkson. He plans to study business.
“[I’m excited to] play at a high level with older players that are professional quality and play in front of the student sections and awesome college hockey fans,” Haider said.
Haider makes sure to analyze and reflect in practice and after game performances to see where he went wrong. The athlete said wants to be the best he could be.
“All of his tools of the game are high quality,” Bucchino said. “He is definitely built to be an NHL prospect and I’m excited to see what the future holds for him.”
Written by Rachel Bucchino