Jacob Trouba is a defenseman for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound native of Rochester, Mich., helped the Men's National U18 Team to its third straight gold medal at the U18 World Championship in Germany last April. He served as co-captain of the U.S. National Under-17 Team and was selected to the 2011 USHL midseason All-Star Team. Trouba, who participated in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Hi everyone. I'm so excited to be a part of NHL.com's draft coverage with a monthly blog leading up to the big day in June.
This year will probably be the most fun I've had in hockey in my career so far so I really just want to enjoy it and not worry about it too much. I don't want to get caught up in all the draft stuff and worry about the rankings. That doesn't really change how I play or how good I am; it's just what people think. I just want to have fun, play and enjoy being with my teammates because after this year, we're all going to go different ways.
In my initial blog, I'll talk a little about myself and the season we expect to have.
I grew up in Rochester, Mich. It's a great city. When I was about 4- or 5-years-old they built a few new rinks and everyone was pretty excited about that so everyone was trying to play hockey at my age. My uncle takes credit for putting me on roller blades when I was about 4 but when my brother (T.J.) skated with all his friends, I usually tagged along with him with my dad. I hated it at first because I couldn't skate … I was crying about it too. But my dad made me suck it up and try it out.
I've always been a defenseman. When I was a kid, defensemen got more ice time because all the other kids wanted to play forward. As a defender, I was out there every third shift of every other shift, so it worked out well.
I eventually played for Compuware and that was a fun time. We had 10 guys on that team that would come back every time and we had a lot of fun as a group.
This year will be my first full season with the Under-18 NTDP Team. Our big thing is winning U18 Worlds (in April in the Czech Republic). That's pretty much what our team is focused on. We'd also want to win 19 league games in the USHL, which is a little more than what we did last year. We'd also like to get more accustomed to the college game and use them as a learning curve.
I feel the USHL is a great league for players like us coming in as 16- and 17-year olds, playing against older guys. It's a challenge because we feel like we can really play with them and get those wins and compete. Last year, it was great coming in because it was a new experience and it was hard. It really helped us when we had to go against international competition and play against our own age group. It really made things a lot easier … maybe even slowed the game down.
I found the NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp to be good. It was cool going up against all the guys you'll be going against in the Draft. They are the guys you'll be compared with for the rest of your hockey life and in those international tournaments. It was a lot of fun to get to know them on a personal level.
I'm excited to be playing on this year's U18 Team -- my partner most of the year has been Patrick Sieloff. Everyone on the team is very close and there's no one really out of the loop. We do everything together and we got a lot of talent. If we play together, I think we can go a really long ways. Our defense is great … watching Seth (Jones) in practice has been amazing (Jones is eligible for the 2013 Draft).
I played with Sieloff on Compuware (in 2009-10). So, I've known him for a long time. He's a big, physical guy, and I'm pretty physical so we work well together. We like to jump into the play at times, so we know where each other is in the defensive zone. We know when each other should jump and when we should stay back.
Finally, I'd just like to touch on the fact how glad I am to get my decision for next year out of the way. I'll be attending the University of Michigan. The reason I waited this long to make the decision was so I knew for sure what I wanted to do. I didn't want to be one of those guys to back out or turn my word on someone because my family is always telling me that's not what you do.
Once you make a commitment, you have to stick with it at least until the end of the year. I'm planning on going to Michigan and it's going to be awesome with the coaches they have there. The facilities are great and seeing the guys who have come through like Jack Johnson and Mike Cammalleri … they get people to the NHL and that's where I want to go.
You can follow me on twitter at: @jacobtrouba and stay up on the U18 NTDP season and our road to the U18 World Championship. Thanks for reading and check back next month.