Athlete of the Month
By: Connor Wood
A great combination of skill, desire, and leadership is what gave Nick Neville the honor of Lahser’s top athlete of the month. Neville plays AAA hockey for Detroit Little Caesars in the Tier One Elite Hockey League. The Tier One is one of the most heavily scouted amateur leagues by junior teams as well as division one colleges with hockey programs. The league consists of 25 teams spread throughout the country and is divided into five divisions. Little Caesars is one of five teams in the Detroit division. Scouting reports say that Neville is one of the most solid defensive players in the 1993 birth year NHL draft class. His style of play models that of Nicklas Lidstrom, of the Detroit Red wings, who is always making the smart play. He also uses his great shot and skating abilities to generate a bit of offense for his team.
Many student athletes juggle school, sports, family, and friends but how does Nick manage such a demanding hockey schedule? “It’s a very difficult thing to do. We practice three or four times a week and play anywhere from one to five games in a weekend all over the country. Most of my teachers are flexible and work with me to make up all my assignments I miss when the team is on the road. When I’m not at the rink, I like to spend my free time just relaxing and spending time with my friends, which I often miss out on.”
The real question is, what is in the future for Nick Neville? In June, Neville will attend multiple “invite only” tryout camps for junior teams. There, he will battle for a spot on a 23 man roster against other top hockey prospects. “I hope to end up playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the United States Hockey League” Neville says. “My good friend and rival Connor Wood was drafted there last spring in the USHL futures draft. “Moving away from home to play hockey is a tough thing to do, so having Connor alongside would make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable.” Neville has already attracted the attention of multiple division one schools and will end up committing to a university to play hockey within the next two years. It’s only a matter of time before Neville starts to attract NHL scouts. Maybe someday his dream of becoming a professional hockey player will come true. As of now he is defiantly on the right track to his dream.