(Photo: Rena Laverty/ USA Hockey)
By JACK LeGWIN
Ryan Siedem is achieving his goals one day at a time.
When he received an invitation to try out for the Team USA U17 NTDP (National Team Development Program), Siedem said a big goal that he had been working towards had been reached.
“It was a great feeling,” Siedem told BTS Sports on Monday. “It was pretty much everything that I had worked for over the past couple years. To try out and then make the team, it was both an honor and a sense of relief.”
When asked about the biggest difference between Team USA and high school hockey at Avon Old Farms (Conn.), Siedem pointed to conditioning.
“Last year we didn’t really work out very much,” Siedem said. “It was basically all hockey, and we didn’t get into the gym very much. It’s different here because we are in the gym 2-3 times a week, so we are stronger when we play the older, faster guys. No matter who you go against in practice, you know it’s going to be tough.”
The level of competition also goes up substantially when you are facing the best players in the country every day in practice.
“Last year sometimes reps would be easy depending on who you went against,” Siedem said. “Here, all the reps are tough. You have to be on the top of your game every day.”
Yet while practices are a tough grind on a daily basis, Siedem said he has become a much better player for it.
“Every aspect of my game has really gotten better. I feel like I’m twice as good of a player as when I got here,” explained Siedem. “Ever since I decided that hockey was my favorite sport, this was my goal. I knew this would help me to become a successful hockey player in the future.”
With players stopping by the facility who have previously represented the NTDP, Siedem mentioned two players who really stood out for him.
“Dylan Larkin is a guy we met a couple days ago,” Siedem said. “David Booth is another guy who has done some talks with us about his experiences as well.”
Siedem said he’s focused on the next step, which will be heading to Boston College and playing for head coach Jerry York.
“I want to just have a successful time at BC, and become a good college player,” Siedem said. “Then hopefully make it to the NHL and have a shot there when college is over. That’s always been my dream, to play in the NHL. That’s really why I’m here. I want to get better, and that’s the ultimate goal.”
The 6-foot-2 Siedem currently has 1 goal and 7 assists with a +7 rating through 31 games for the U17 Program.