Battle Mountain grad Large finding success with NA3HL’s Cobras with eye on short-term, long-term goals
After the 2021-22 season with Battle Mountain High School, Carter Large wasn’t ready to hang up the skates.
He knew he had the ability to play junior hockey, but it took a by-chance meeting to make that happen.
“I had randomly met up with (Butte Cobras coach-GM) Kirk Golden in Vail where I was practicing and he talked to me about wanted to sign with the Butte Cobras,” said Large, an Eagle native. “I chose to sign with Butte so I can play hockey and also get my residency in Montana and also get my in-state tuition for Montana State University.”
Fellow Colorado native Weston Villers (Colorado Springs) had also signed with Butte, a team in the NA3HL, and he and Large played together with Team Colorado after the last high school season, “so signing with Butte knowing someone was easy for me to do,” said Large.
“I was excited to leave my hometown because I’ve been living there my whole life and was ready for a new experience,” Large said. “And I was very excited to be following hockey. I love that there’s always hockey to play after playing in the NA3. Hockey is a sport I will love for the rest of my life, but also knowing that the fan bases are super energetic in the NA3 is a thrill for me.”
Large noted that this past season with the Huskies was one of his most memorable seasons ever.
“Last season was one of the best teams I’ve been a part of team chemistry-wise, on and off the ice,” said Large. “I had a great time playing on this team. I had switched back to defense about halfway through the season and had ended up getting more points than I ever have in a single season as a forward. Defense was my first ever real position in hockey, and I think it will always be my best position, but I can always go and play forward.
“I had a mindset last season that I wanted to make sure this would not be my last season playing hockey. I made sure I worked my tail off in every game to help contribute towards the team winning the games. I think my work ethic is what helped me get prepared for juniors.”
In addition to Battle Mountain and Team Colorado, Large also played for the Vail Mountaineers, Mountain Militia, Vail International Hockey, and Colorado Wilderness.
Large said one of his most impactful coaches was Matt Dietz, his first coach on the Mountaineers, and noted how others had a positive influence on him as he advanced through youth hockey.
“Coach Dietz always criticized on focusing on ‘the little things’ when playing hockey, and that has stuck with me ever since,” Large said. “My first Pee Wee year, our organization got a new director named John Seymour. Coach Seymour was a very intense coach and focused a lot on competing. The few years he was our director and coach, he completely switched my game to a more aggressive playing style and because of that, I am a better hockey player.
“All four years of playing high school hockey I had the same two coaches, Derek Byron (head coach) and George Wilson (assistant coach). Coach Byron is now one of my good friends and we stay in touch a lot even though I am not in high school anymore. He is one of the main reasons why I am playing junior hockey. Coach Byron’s biggest pet peeve on the ice was communication, meaning if you weren’t communicating with your teammates, then there was no way we could work together as a team and win our games. Coach George was my defensive coach my senior year and also a very good friend of mine. He would always push me to be a leader during my four years of high school and with that, he helped me gain a lot of confidence on the ice, which helped me have the ability to read the game a lot better.”
With the NA3HL season now in full swing, Large is starting to look at what his future might entail, both at the rink and in the classroom.
“My hockey goals have always been to play for as long as I can and to also play the highest level of hockey I can,” said Large. “My short-term goal is to work hard enough to get an NAHL invite during this NA3 season and to also enjoy every moment I have this year with my team because I know this could be my last season playing junior hockey. For my long-term goal, I want to be able to move up to the NAHL for the 2023-24 season because that is my last year of being able to play junior-level hockey.
“If the hockey thing doesn’t work for me, I have a plan to go to Montana State University in the fall of 2023 for school. At MSU, I plan to be taking a landscape architecture major because I am really interested in design and also being outside. I work for my dad’s landscape construction business during the summers and by working for his company, I have put in a lot of thought of adding in architecture to his company and also growing his company and becoming more successful than the company already is.”
— Matt Mackinder
(October 19, 2022)