Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Senior Tribute: Tommy Grant

This is part one of five tributes which I'm publishing today highlighting the careers of each of the five graduating UAA Seawolves senior class.  The members of the class in alphabetical order are Tommy Grant, Nick Haddad, Craig Parkinson, Luka Vidmar and Sean Wiles.

Tommy Grant

This 6ft, 2in forward from North Vancouver, British Columbia has been a consistentlscoring threat since joining the Seawolves after a fine 3 year Junior A career in the BCHL with Victoria and Westside (53 goals, 55 assists in 157 games).  With four regular season games remaining Tommy has career totals of 29 goals, 29 assists through 97 games including 7 power play tallies, 2 shorthanded goals and 3 game winners.

In his first year in the Green and Gold, Tommy played in 31 games and scored 5 goals with 2 assists.  As the season progressed Tommy began to learn to use his size and excellent speed to his advantage.  He scored his first career goal (a game winner) against UAF early that year.  Even early in the season I sensed and wrote here that Tommy seemed to have a nose for the net.  Here's how I characterized that goal.
On the shift that produced the game winner, the Seawolves were particularly determined keeping the puck in the UAF zone for what seemed like close to 90 seconds. About 15 seconds before the goal came, Grant showed great anticipation getting to a puck in the far corner and I turned to my daughter and excitedly said, "That kid's a hockey player". As I looked back up Tommy had the puck on the other side of the net behind the goal line and carried it back up the far side looking for an opportunity. Finding nobody free, he simply fired the puck low through Chad Johnson's legs. 1st collegiate goal and a game winner. Nice.
Over the succeeding years, it only got better for Tommy here.  As a sophomore, he scored 15 goals to rank 10th overall in the conference.  His ten assists and 25 points overall were good enough for 3rd on the squad.  He was also a nice +7 for the year.  He was named WCHA Offensive Play of the Week twice in November.

As junior Tommy's goal production dropped however his point production increased overall by 1.  He finished the season with 9 goals and 17 assists in 34 games and was 2nd on the team in scoring.  He scored 3 game winners, had 6 multipoint games.

This season Tommy has produced 11 goals with 14 assists in 30 games.  He's all but assured of having his best career season.

Going forward, I see him as a potentially productive and effective AHL player who at some point could very well get a shot to prove himself in the NHL.  Obviously that depends on further development and his personal determination to make that happen.  But he has the tools.  

He's got nothing short of excellent speed.  He is superb at protecting the puck and we've seen him blow around the outside of multiple WCHA defenseman on his way to the net over the years. He's got a wicked wrist shot and is adept blasting first timers from the point.  He's not shy about working offensively in the corners or in high traffic areas in front of the net.

With his combination of size and speed Tommy will be a nice free agent pickup for someone when this season ends.  I'd expect it won't be too long after the season completes that we'll see him signing.  And I would expect him to contribute in short order for whoever signs him.

Tommy's leadership has been a key for the success that UAA has had this season.  He logs big minutes on the power play and penalty kill.  He sets an example for younger players through his quality efforts and is a threat to score anytime he is on the ice.  He's a fan favorite of course because of those efforts.  His feet simply don't stop moving in any situation.  He is forceful and purposeful.

The Seawolves will miss both his production and his great attitude on the ice.  As a fan I'll miss seeing him wheel around defensemen, punish the opposition in the corner on the cycle and stand up for both himself and teammates when things turn chippy.  Best of luck of course to Tommy finishing out his Seawolf career.  I have no doubt that as the years progress we'll all enjoy following his future hockey career as well.


Suze said...

Every year there are one or two seniors whom I really hate to see graduate. Tommy is among them this year, he will really be missed by both the team and the fans.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to watching Tommy on Versus someday soon! You have been an absolute Stud for the Seawolves the last four years. Gonna miss ya.

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