Colorado Rubber

Colorado’s and Utah’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Tigers graduate French finding motivation in ’21-22 season playing north of border with SJHL’s Millionaires


Although he is from Alaska, Keaton French improved his game with the Colorado Springs Tigers from 2017-20, even earning a call up at the beginning of the 2019-20 season to the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

After not playing anywhere last season due to the pandemic, French is in Canada this season to play in Saskatchewan for the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires.

“I reached out to Coach (Mike) Rooney last spring,” French said. “Hockey in Canada was shut down due to COVID, and I had heard that the SJ might open up, so I wanted to see if he might have a spot for me to come in. They didn’t end up playing, but he called and offered me an opportunity to come in this season.”

French is excited to get back on the ice playing competitive games again.

“I had a couple of buddies from home that had played in the SJHL who are now playing NCAA Division I that told me that they had a great experience playing here,” said French. “I know the SJ has a good reputation for developing junior players and that is exactly what I am looking for at this point, junior experience and an opportunity to really grow my game.

“I was supposed to play juniors in Canada last season, but when COVID hit, I was without a team and had no prospects of playing. I went home to Alaska to do whatever I could to stay in game shape so I was ready if an opportunity presented itself. I didn’t end up playing last season, but I think the time away really helped me work on my mental game and made me hungry for a chance. I feel even more motivated now to make the most of the season ahead.”

Going forward, French recognizes his aspirations are well within reach.

“My short-term goals are to continue to develop my game and do everything I can to give my team a chance to win every game we play this season,” French said. “Long term, I’d like to play at the collegiate level and eventually, professionally.”

Photo/Outer Edge Imagery

— Matt Mackinder

(September 22, 2021)

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