Centennial native Floyd re-signs with USPHL’s Blaze, selected to wear ‘C’ for Decatur in ’21-22
Austin Floyd is entering his third and final season playing for the USPHL’s Decatur Blaze in 2021-22 and wants to make the third time the charm.
He will also serve as Decatur’s captain next season after recently being appointed by the Blaze coaching staff.
“The development level on and off the ice at Decatur is top tier, and the coaching, the billet families, and the compete level are up there, too,” said Floyd, a 2001 birth year from Centennial. “Being as this is my age-out year, I don’t think there was anywhere else better suited to finish my junior career and to lead me into a college career.
“I’ve enjoyed being a leader and doing anything I can to help the Decatur Blaze win for the last two years, and it will be fun to step into that role. I’m honored and more than excited for it. It means a lot to be named captain. I’ve always considered myself a natural leader. I think it motivates me, which motivates my team.”
Blaze coach-GM Zac Pearson has watched Floyd improve his game the past two seasons and is excited for what’s to come.
“Austin is a kid that is always focused and is never complacent,” said Pearson. “He wants to keep getting better. That is what our program here in Decatur is about and that also shows Austin’s leadership and the biggest reason why he’ll wear the ‘C’ for us next season.”
Over the past two seasons, Floyd has collected 33 goals and 89 points in 77 regular-season games, in addition to 12 points in seven playoff games.
“I think the relationship with Coach Pearson has definitely developed over the last two years, and that was a big factor in deciding to come back,” said Floyd. “Also, seeing the success and development on and off the ice helps, too. I’ve made some great friends while being on the team and some great connections with the guys coming back as well. I think the USPHL is a good, competitive Tier III junior league that will definitely lead me into a college career.
“My rookie year was a lot of fun. We had lots of fans and qualified for USPHL Nationals, and that was a great experience. My billet family has been nothing but amazing and created a home away from home for me, too.”
Growing up in the Denver area was where Floyd first caught hockey fever.
“When I was younger, my dad had season tickets to the Avs games,” Floyd remembered. “He took me to my first game on my first birthday and fell in love with the game from there. Most of my youth career was at Colorado Evolution. My coach Sergei Bautin was very influential in my development as a hockey player and my skating coach Matt Frick has helped develop my skating and offensive skills throughout as well.”
Stats aside, Floyd has reachable goals for the 2021-22 campaign back in Decatur.
“I want to embrace my final junior year and have as much fun as I can while developing and being the best player and leader I can be for the team and myself,” said Floyd. “Long term, I’d like to play hockey in college and for as long as I can, and study in college to set myself up for the life I want to live.”
— Matt Mackinder
(June 23, 2021)