Greenwood Village’s Gudridge moving forward on development, improvement levels with USHL’s Capitols
Jordan Gudridge is just 17, but the Greenwood Village native has a bright future ahead, on and off the ice.
Playing this season as the second-youngest player with the USHL’s Madison Capitols, Gudridge has seen action in 16 games, tallying one assist from the back end.
Originally selected by Madison in the fourth round (59th overall) of Phase I of the 2021 USHL Draft, Gudridge spent the 2021-22 season with the Colorado Thunderbirds’ 16U AAA team to prepare for the current season.
“After the 2021 USHL draft, I attended my first main camp with the team, and it was a great experience,” said Gudridge. “I met the head coach at the time, Tom Upton, and assistant coaches Corey Leivermann (now head coach) and Gavin Bickford. I loved the culture, atmosphere, and high-level environment that I was now a part of. After camp, the decision was for me to return to Colorado to play 16U hockey. After keeping in touch all year, I attended main camp this past summer and the opportunity arose to sign and play for the team. I was extremely excited and could not be more happy with my decision.
“My appeal to the team began when I first spoke to Coach Upton. The idea of becoming a part of an elite program like the Madison Capitols was one I have always dreamed of. After talking with Coach Upton, I looked into the organization and really loved what I saw. After being drafted, I dug deeper, learning more about the team. I followed the journey of the Caps all last year, and as you can imagine after watching the historic run of last year’s team, my decision was set. I wanted to be a Capitol.”
Living away from home this season has “definitely been an adjustment” for Gudridge.
“It is my first time living away from home and being away from my family for months at a time,” explained Gudridge. “I have been getting used to the routine and doing things for myself. I have to thank the Starr family for opening their home to me and taking me in as one of their own. They have made the adjustment a lot easier, and I can not thank them enough.”
On the ice, the season has not gone the way the Capitols planned on, but Gudridge is finding the silver lining.
“So far, as our record shows (7-14-1 as of Dec. 16), we are not in a place where we want to be,” Gudridge said. “As a whole, we have decided to restart and move on. Adversity has hit us hard early this year. Although it is early, we have been battling injuries and illness and are finally starting to get back to a full and healthy lineup. I am very excited to see what this team can do and how we can bounce back.
“Personally, I believe that this season has been going very well. Obviously, team success is more important than individual success, so once we begin to play Caps hockey again and get back in the win column, it will only make my personal progress better. After the first few months here in Madison, I can already feel improvements being made to my game. The quick pace, high-level players, and great coaching push me to get better every single day.”
It also never hurts being immersed in a town rich in hockey culture.
“Living in Madison has been amazing so far,” said Gudridge. “From what I heard before coming to Madison and from what people have said while being here, Madison is the best town for hockey in all of the USHL and so far, it has lived up to it. While the Madison Capitols are a major team in the area, not too far away is the University of Wisconsin. The combination of us two programs brings a great dynamic to the town. This year, I have been to a couple of the hockey games with my teammates, and we’ve had a great time.”
Growing up in Colorado, Gudridge started his hockey journey with the Arapahoe Warriors playing out of Family Sports Center. Shortly after, he moved to play for the Krivo School of Hockey out of the Ice Ranch, where he played from the ages of seven to 12.
“Coach Andrei Krivokrasov developed my skills and taught me the fundamentals of the game,” Gudridge said. “Over the course of five years, Coach Andrei dedicated his life to making me a better hockey player and I can not thank him enough for how much he has done for me.”
Gudridge’s 12U-16U years were all spent with the Thunderbirds, where he credits a lot of his development and success to coaches Angelo Ricci, David Clarkson, Cam Clemenson, Ken Klee, and Adam Shaner.
“Since making the jump to Madison, I have to thank Coach Upton, Coach Leivermann, and Coach Bickford for believing in me and drafting me here,” said Gudridge. “There is no other organization I would have been more proud to be a part of.”
Looking ahead, Gudridge knows where he wants to take hockey and has the drive to get there.
“As a kid, my long-term dream was to play in the NHL,” said Gudridge. “As a 17-year-old kid, my dream is still to play in the NHL. However, in the short term, one of my major goals is to play hockey at an NCAA Division I university while also receiving a top-tier education. I have always prioritized hockey and school in my life and moving forward, I want to continue that.
“In the long term, like I said, the ultimate goal is to play in the NHL. While this has always been my dream, I know that at some point in my life my playing career will end, but I want to stay involved and give back to the game for all it has done for me.”
Photo provided by Jordan Gudridge
— Matt Mackinder
(December 16, 2022)