Golden native Begg commits to NCAA D-I Vermont, looking at junior hockey options for ’21-22
Ethan Begg has his NCAA Division I commitment in place.
Now, the 2003-born Golden native is weighing his options for junior hockey with the 2021-22 season approaching.
Drafted by the Madison Capitols in the seventh round (106th overall) of Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft, Begg was also selected by the Janesville Jets in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2021 NAHL Supplemental Draft.
“My plan was to try out for the Capitols before making any other decision,” said Begg, who played the last four seasons at Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School. “I was cut at Madison’s main camp and now I am going to try out for Janesville to try to make that team.”
With the recent 2020-21 season being unconventional on several fronts, Begg noted that he chose to look at the positives in the face of the pandemic.
“This past season was quiet a different season due to COVID, so I got to spend a lot of time with the boys in the dorm room and we became a lot closer than a lot of teams that I had in the past,” Begg said. “We were one family and the bonding we got to have over this year was like no other. On a personal level, I believe this season was really great. I got to learn from one of the best coaches (Tom Ward) and he made me see the game in a whole different aspect. I learned what type of player I am and what I can contribute to my team in these upcoming years.
“Due to COVID, I had a lot of extra time to practice the little details of the game, like catching pucks on walls, making plays off the walls, tape-to-tape passes and catching passes on my forehand and backhand, just simple details that make a huge difference in a game.”
On the college front, Begg committed to the University of Vermont at the beginning of February and is looking to land on campus to start with the Catamounts in the fall of 2023.
“I had very little knowledge of Vermont at the beginning of the year but after growing a great relationship with the coaching staff there, I came to start loving UVM,” said Begg. “Their rink (Gutterson Fieldhouse) is one of the hardest rinks to play in Hockey East. Coach (Jay) Woodcroft is a great coach and really knows the game well, which is what drove me to want to go there even more. On top of that, UVM plays high-end colleges with high-talent recruits which will put me playing against some of the best players in college hockey.
“I want to push myself to be able to play pro hockey some day and I see playing against the best players will push me to do so. Vermont has had a few bad years in the past success-wise but with this new coaching staff, I can really see things turning around within the next few years.”
Begg plans to major in Business Analytics and minor in Sports Management at Vermont.
“I have a few years to make a final decision of what to major in but as of right now, that is my plan,” said Begg. “I will be playing two years of juniors to develop my game and strength on and off the ice to get me ready for college hockey.”
Before heading to Burlington, Vt., Begg is excited to jumpstart his game at the junior hockey level.
“How I expect to adjust to junior hockey is by training hard this summer and working on my strength on and off the ice as well as growing my hockey skills and sense,” Begg said. “Once the season kicks off, I will be studying lots of film and watching the vets on the team do what they do best and try to mimic what they are doing. The hardest part of adjusting is the less time and space I will have on the ice so learning to think quick and smart at the same time is going to be a major skill to learn in these upcoming years.
“The biggest thing overall is to play my style of hockey. There is a reason my team (wherever that may be) selects me so doing what I do best is what is going to give me the most success for these next years.”
Back in Colorado is where Begg’s passion for the game started at a young age.
“Hockey has always been a part of my life,” he said. “My family members have always played hockey (grandpa, dad, and older brothers) and ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a hockey player. The Avs never played a major role in me loving hockey, but they have played a role for me to want to push myself to be able to play pro hockey someday.”
Growing up, Begg skated for the Arapahoe Warriors in Mites and Squirts, then went to AAA in Pee Wees with the Colorado Thunderbirds before playing high school in Faribault, Minn., with Shattuck.
“Every coach that I have had has made a major impact on my life,” said Begg. “I cannot single out one coach for being the biggest impact. I have learned many tools from every coach I have had, and they are the ones who have shaped me to become the player that I am today.”
Looking ahead, Begg has reachable goals in mind, but also realizes nothing will be handed to him.
“My goals in hockey are to become a pro hockey player and I know that takes lots of dedication and effort, which starts with my short-term goals,” said Begg. “Every day, I want to do something that is going to make my game better, whether it’s on the ice or in the gym, fueling myself properly, or even a day to recover so I can start getting back to work again. Every week, I set a goal on tools that I want to work on for my game and I do whatever is necessary to do so – shooting pucks, stick handling, studying the game, etcetera.
“My life goals are always going to be the same, and hockey is a big part of my life. In life, I always want to be a great person, have a close, tight friend group and most importantly, a great family life. If hockey doesn’t work out to what I hope it does, I want to carry what I have learned in playing sports over to the real world and use those tools in whatever job I land in the future. Of course, I want to be successful in whatever job I end up in, but one of the most Important things is I want to be successful in is having a happy family in the future.”
— Matt Mackinder
(July 7, 2021)