For Castle Pines native Pfeiffer, USPHL’s Knights next step after stops with Chapparal, T-Birds, LHA, Arapahoe
Sam Pfeiffer developed his game at the youth hockey level in Colorado, spending much of his time with the Arapahoe Warriors and then his later years with the Littleton Hockey Association, Colorado Thunderbirds and at Chaparral High School.
For the 2022-23 season, the Castle Pines native has signed to play for the USPHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, a powerhouse program in the junior hockey circuit that made it to the national semifinals this past March.
“A good friend of mine from Chaparral, Simon Herz, played for Wilkes Barre last year and recommended me to his coach (Cody Murphy),” said Pfeiffer. “He was able to see me play at a showcase in Boston and after meeting with him, we agreed I would be a good fit for the team. Besides being first in their division last season, the coach let me know their program has a strong focus on skating and skills development. I also liked the idea of living in a dorm environment with the team versus billeting with a local family.
“I’m pretty excited to try something new although I will miss my friends and family, for sure. My main goal is to play college hockey and I believe that the USPHL will be one of the steppingstones to get me there.”
During the 2021-22 season, Pfeiffer skated for Chaparral and the LHA 18U team.
“I thought the Chaparral team finished strong, making it to the Elite 8,” Pfeiffer said. “The Littleton team had a lot of talented players who came together as a team the second half of the season to win all of our remaining games to qualify for the CSDHL playoffs. It was a lot of fun to be a part of that. On a personal level, I felt like I started a little slow after being out with a knee injury for most of the prior season, but by the end of the season, I felt like I was playing some of my best hockey.
“The high intensity and physical play of the CSDHL that my 18U AA Littleton team played in has helped prepare me for this upcoming season. Our Littleton team also went to USA Hockey Nationals and played some of the best 18U AA teams from around the country, which also challenged me to play my best hockey.”
Back home, Pfeifer played for Arapahoe through 16U AA, the 15U Thunderbirds team, Littleton for 16U AA and 18U AA, Chaparral, and Team Colorado (for the St. Louis tournament).
“Even though I’ve learned something valuable from every coach I’ve had, there are a few coaches who have stood out,” said Pfeiffer. “Although he was never my coach directly, I took clinics and lessons with Randy Murphy, who was the Arapahoe Warriors travel director. He constantly focused on edgework and helped me become the skater I am today. While I was recovering from a knee injury my junior year, I worked with Jared Bussard from TPH who helped me weekly, reviewing videos to improve my hockey IQ. One other coach who helped me develop was Jason Gour, who was my Littleton 16U AA coach. Although I got injured a few weeks into the season, Jason made a big impact on me and kept me involved with the team even when I wasn’t able to be on the ice. He helped me grow as a person.”
Now with his 2022-23 team in place, Pfeiffer wants to continue to improve.
“My short-term goal is to play Tier II junior hockey next year and my long-term goal is to play college hockey and play for as long as I possibly can after that,” Pfeiffer said.
— Matt Mackinder
(July 22, 2022)