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Etem's road to NHL brings him back home

Friday, 02.28.2014 / 12:37 PM / AHL Update

Alyssa Dombrowski - Special to NHL.com

It was during his childhood in his shorefront hometown of Long Beach, Calif., that Emerson Etem of the American Hockey League's Norfolk Admirals got his unconventional start in the game of hockey.

"I started playing roller hockey when I was three," said Etem, now 21 and in his second season of professional hockey. "There was a YMCA right down the street with a roller rink. My brother tried it out so I just wanted to follow in his footsteps -- it looked fun and I ended up loving it.

"When I was six years old, I moved to ice hockey and it just kind of took off [from there]."

Etem moved to Minnesota at the age of 14 to play for Shattuck-St. Mary's School, where he won a national championship in 2008. He competed for the U.S. National Team Developmental Program from 2008-09 and spent three seasons as a prolific major junior scorer with Medicine Hat in the Western Hockey League.

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You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

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