Scott Mayfield is a defenseman for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. Committed to the University of Denver for the 2011-12 academic season, he also played a part in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament for Team USA. Mayfield, who participated in the 2010 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 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
Thoughts on gold medal; MVP honors
12.01.2010 / 8:00 AM ET
Hello, I'm back to tell you about one of the most memorable months in my hockey career. A lot of amazing things happened at the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, British Columbia, at the start of November.
But first, I want to share a little about my team, the Youngstown Phantoms. The month of November has been a huge rollercoaster for us. We started the month in a slump and couldn’t dig ourselves out until about two weeks ago. The biggest problem was our consistency in bearing down and capitalizing on the chances we had. The team, including me, has had so many chances but has not produced enough from them.
I believe the answer to this starts in practice, so we've concentrated on increasing our intensity in front of the net during practice in order to carry it over in games. Lately the team really has picked it up. We are on a 3-game win streak with two of those being away games. I felt Chicago was one of the biggest games to win so far because we are so close to them in the standings and they have been playing well. Personally, the game was a lot of fun because my whole family including my brother, who was home from the Air Force Academy, got to come up and see me play!
I'm happy with how the team has worked hard to get back on track and I feel that we are doing
everything possible to have a successful season and winning record.
The World Junior A Challenge was incredible. The team was a great group of guys. It was amazing to bring a team of all USHL players together and see how well we got along and played even though we all are used to playing against each other.
The tournament went exactly how we wanted it to until we hit a little bump in the gold medal game against Canada East. After allowing only one goal in each of the first three games and scoring five or more, we ended up going down 4-1 halfway through the game. What surprised me was how positive we all stayed. None of us, including me, ever thought we wouldn't win that game, even when we were down a goal with about five minutes left. We scored three late goals to win, 6-4.
To win a gold medal for the USA was the most amazing and unforgettable event in my hockey career. I'll never forget throwing our gloves up at the buzzer or standing there with our arms around each other singing our national anthem. Every guy on the team represented our country with respect and pride, and really, that is the most important thing about the experience.
Along with the gold, Jimmy Mullin (Fargo Force) and I were selected to the tournament all-star team. I was also named MVP of the tournament. The individual awards were a huge honor, but hockey is a team sport, and the guys around me really helped me. I knew that if I made a mistake, the rest of the team was there to pick me up. Every guy on the team played great.
I'm happy about the gold medal and the individual recognition, but most of all, I'm happy about the friends I made throughout the whole experience. I'm looking foreword to playing with and against all of them this year and in the future.
The Central Scouting preliminary ratings came out right after I got back from Canada. It feels good to be so high (No. 4 among USHL skaters) on the list when there are so many great players in the USHL this year. Although it is amazing to be rated for 2011 NHL Entry Draft, I know that it doesn't mean anything if I don't perform. What matters is being the best you can on the ice and helping your team every single game.
December should be a great month. We're playing better and are looking forward to the next five games before Christmas. Four of the games are against teams in the east division so they are extremely important for us. Then, I get a week off to spend some time with the family in St. Louis. My roommate from last year, Andre Sustr (U. Nebraska-Omaha) -- will be staying with us. The week off for Christmas is the only break we get during the season. I am excited to go home and see all my family and friends.
My next blog will be at the start of January. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Thank you for taking your time to read my blog.
-- Scott Mayfield
Ponderings and progress in first month
11.03.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
Hi everyone, back again with my second update.
October had a lot of up and downs. My team, the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL, is currently 4-5-1. We had a great start but are experiencing a little slump right now.
We spent three of our first four weeks on the road. Youngstown, being the furthest east team in the league, makes traveling a hassle. In October, we have traveled over 7,000 miles by bus. Our longest trip was to Fargo, North Dakota on October 21. All this traveling can be rough but roadies with the boys are one of my favorite things about hockey in the USHL.
We played in three home openers and won all three. We beat Des Moines and Lincoln in front of sold out and extremely loud crowds. Lincoln was nuts at the start of the game but quieted down in the first 30 seconds when Ty Loney scored. Lincoln battled till the end though, and we won by only one goal, so the crowd was really into it. In our home opener, we beat the defending USHL champs, the Green Bay Gamblers. We had a big crowd, too, and really appreciated the support. It was great to see a lot of people show up to our game because we usually don't get the same attendance as many other teams.
I am really happy with the coaching and the type of team we have this year. Coach (Curtis) Carr is really helping us be the best we can be. We have had a small losing streak towards the end of October but I know we will be fine and come back. I have been paired with Jordan Young and Chris Bradley, two strong defensemen who are doing great in their first year in the USHL. Some other players that have had a great first month are Jiri Sekac, Adam Berkle, Quinn Smith, Cody Strang, Ryan Belonger and our goalie, Matt O'Connor. O'Connor has been outstanding and was named the USHL goaltender of the week for the first week of the season.
Outside hockey, life is pretty much the same. My billet parents, Gayle and Jim Ridge, are amazing. This is my second year with them and they have really made the transition into living away from my family as easy as possible. I live with Stu Higgins who has also been a big player up front for us. He is committed to Maine for 2011. Stu and I always argue about which division is better -- Hockey East or WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association). I hope some day we'll get to play against each other in college so I can prove I'm right.
Towards the end of October, I was chosen for the USA World Junior A Challenge Team. It's a huge honor to wear the USA jersey and I'm grateful to have been selected. The roster is made up of USHL players, including two other St. Louis guys, Michael Parks (drafted in 2010 by Philadelphia) and Sam Warning (eligible this year). Both of them play for Cedar Rapids. I'm excited to meet and get to know some of the guys I play against all season. I leave Nov. 4 for Penticton, British Columbia. I'll write about the world tournament in my next blog at the start of December.
For now, I would like everyone to keep Jesse Martin, a Denver hockey player, in their thoughts and prayers. Jesse was hit in a game Saturday night against North Dakota and sustained three neck fractures to C-2 vertebrae.
Thanks for taking your time to read this!
Making an introduction
10.06.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
My name is Scott Mayfield and I'm a defenseman for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. I'm eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and recently took part in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation camp. I was asked if I would like to do a blog about the RDO camp, the USHL and my experiences in the upcoming season. I thought I'd start out with a little about myself and the RDO camp.
I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I started playing hockey with the Webster Wings organization when I was 4. Growing up I played youth hockey with the St. Louis Rockets, the Chesterfield Falcons and the St. Louis Amateur Blues. I also played high school hockey for two years at Webster Groves High School.
Eighteen months ago I had no idea any of this would ever happen. I believed I would play with the Amateur Blues until I graduated from Webster Groves High School this year. A lot of what's happened has been about being in the right place at the right time, starting with my team, the Blues, hosting the Tier I U-16 Nationals. After that, I was drafted by Indiana in the USHL, traded to Youngstown, selected for Team USA for the Ivan Hlinka tournament, and committed to Denver University.
Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I wouldn’t have played at Nationals. Last summer, I went from practicing and playing pick-up games with my buddies in St. Louis to playing games in Europe with and against first-round NHL draft picks -- crazy. This was the start of introducing me to a whole new level of play.
I'll write more about Youngstown and the Phantoms, but for now I'll just say my first year in the USHL was at different times the most difficult, fun, humbling, challenging, frustrating and rewarding time of my life.
It was a huge honor to be selected for the NHL RDO Camp. The experience was amazing, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to play for Coach Ken Hitchcock and be on the ice with so many good players. I roomed with Seth Ambroz, another USHL player who, until the camp, I had only played against. I really enjoyed meeting all the new guys and being able to play with some of the top players in North America for my age. I was really motivated by how good some of these kids were. Anyway, I enjoyed rooming with Seth and look forward to bumping into him when we play Omaha this year.
I couldn't believe that the NHL wanted me to be a part of testing new rules, but it was smart for the NHL to pick the players it did because we played hard. We definitely didn't want to look bad in front of all of the NHL general managers, or each other. We tested many new rules. There were different face off styles, different rules pertaining to penalty kills, icing, offsides, and a few different rules about overtimes and shootouts. Personally, I like hybrid icing. I'm already used to this because the USHL uses it.
Hybrid icing is more challenging for the officials, though, and I think it may give fans something to yell about. I also liked getting chosen for faceoffs, being a tall defenseman, I don't get to take faceoffs too often. I found the red mesh and completely newly-designed rink extremely interesting. All in all, it was fun, and I really enjoyed getting a chance to meet and play with some great players that I know will be in the NHL someday.
I really enjoy this Youngstown team and the organization. Our head coach, Curtis Carr, has done a lot for our team and for me personally. We've had six preseason games and two regular season games. Three of our preseason games were at the USHL Fall Classic, the most heavily scouted junior tournament in the United States. I really enjoy being at the classic because it opens your eyes to all the new teams and players in the league. I consider the classic to be extremely important because it is the first impression that scouts, coaches, and other teams will have going into the season.
This past weekend was a huge weekend for us as we went 2-0 on the road in the opening weekend of the USHL season. Now that the season is underway, we can finally get into a routine and really focus on playing our best and winning games. The team is bonding great and I really believe we have a team that can go far this season. There is no question that our goal is to be the best we possibly can and win the Clark Cup. I know we can do it.
In November, I will have a lot more to tell you about Youngstown, the USHL, and the differences between my rookie season and this year.
-- Scott Mayfield