- Men's Hockey
Former Musketeer Pacioretty hopes to win gold with Team USA
Feb 14, 1:00pm EST
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - From the first time, Max Pacioretty stepped on the ice in Sioux City in 2006, it was clear that he was a special talent.
"Max had all the attributes of an NHL player," said Musketeer voice Curtis Anderson. "Size, speed, an incredible shot."
It didn't take long for those close to the Sioux City Musketeers to know that Pacioretty had a bright future ahead of him.
"I told my assistant coach at the time, Bobby Kinsella, that if he scores a lot of points, he's going to be a first rounder in the national league," said former Musketeers head coach Dave Siciliano.
It was just the beginning of Max Pacioretty's one-year tear through the United States Hockey League in a Muskies sweater, one that started right from the opening face-off. Pacioretty started his career in Sioux City on an eight-game point streak and showed right away that this first-year player was there to stay.
"With first year players, you see the peaks and valleys through a season," said Anderson. "He comes out of the gate just flying high, but he had maybe a couple little valleys. But then he played like he is a third-year player."
And Patch never faltered. In the season that ensued, he scored 21 goals, dished out 42 assists, and was even in a scuffle or two - showing the well-rounded ability that brought NHL scouts in from all over the country.
"The transition was pretty easy given the situation I was put in," said Pacioretty. "I was playing with some of the better players in the league and my coach had trust in me from game one."
And that trust was rewarded. By the end of the regular season, Pacioretty ranked 10th in the USHL with 63 total points, marks good enough to earn him the league's Rookie of the Year award.
"As the season went on, he recognized that he was one of the better players in the league," said Siciliano. "I think to win that award was gratifying but not totally surprising."
The success that earned him that reward continued in the postseason, as he scored 10 points in seven playoff games. From Sioux City, Pacioretty spent one year at the University of Michigan before being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, where he's led the team in points each of the last two seasons before getting the call to be a member of Team USA.
Pacioretty hasn't skated on the ice at the Tyson Events Center in seven years, but he knows how he played here helped make him into the Olympian he is today.
"When you're playing in leagues like that, it's all about development and trying to get better as a player," said Pacioretty. "I feel that was probably one of the biggest leaps I made from the beginning of the season until the end."
And now, he's skating in Sochi.
"I'm excited and I'm honored to be putting on that jersey in Sochi," said Pacioretty. "Wearing around the USA gear, I'm going to wear it with pride. It's an honor to be there and I can't wait to take in all the new experiences."
Experiences that he's been afforded, at least partly, because of his time in Sioux City.
"You were always aware that Pacioretty was on the ice," said Anderson.
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