Speed and mental toughness made the veteran player get 19 points for the North American Hockey League team, the Minnesota Magicians.
John Keranen, 20, made 25 game appearances and holds a 0.76 points per game percentage for this season so far. He believes that his skating skills attributed to his success on the ice. Keranen, head captain of the Magicians, returned to the team for his second full season and also recently committed to the Division One program at the United States Military Academy for next season.
“I’m excited for the atmosphere of playing Division One hockey and just competing with that skill level will be a good challenge,” Keranen said.
Although he’s looking forward to start playing at the collegiate level, Keranen said that he will miss the Magicians because he’s had a lot of fun.
As head captain, the veteran player hopes to see the team maintain its first place spot in the Midwest Division and win the Robertson Cup Championship.
“If we play well through our playoffs, then we can win the Robertson Cup, which is our main goal,” Keranen said. “Hopefully everyone keeps working hard and keep doing what we need to do to get better to achieve that goal.”
But, he said that the team can’t get too comfortable as they prepare for each game.
“We have to go into every game like we need to play our best,” Keranen said. “We can never just settle.” The coaching staff has helped the team with this mentality, making sure the Magicians are prepared as they face their next competitor, the veteran player said.
Head coach A.J. Bucchino named Keranen captain because of his character and leadership on the ice.
“John is a true asset to our organization,” Bucchino said. “His leadership, character and consistent work ethic speaks volumes about the results of his success. He is a huge asset to our team.”
Keranen appreciates being captain as he faces his last season of being a Magician.
“I just try to work my hardest and to lead by example,” Keranen said.
Keranen began playing hockey when he was young. The Delano, Minnesota native played as an offensive player since he had a stick in his hand.
“I started playing when I was really young, just out in the backyard rinks and then I played organized hockey in my community,” Keranen said.
The athlete also played football and baseball during high school and spent some of his time playing golf during the summer.
After this season, Keranen plans to study electrical engineering at the Military Academy. This specific major interests him because his dad is in the profession.
But, right now Keranen said he is focused on getting to the Robertson Cup Championship with his teammates and coaches.
“We’re all working for the same goal and it’s been really working well for us,” Keranen said.
Written by Rachel Bucchino