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.