All about focus
It’s a Wednesday afternoon and the temperature inside the rink is cooler than it is outside. The Mount Royal University men’s hockey team is hard at work practicing the skills they will need to fight for the ACAC championship coming up in two months time.
Steam rises out of the glove of hard working forward Barry Horman as he skates off the ice. While Horman may be new to Mount Royal, he isn’t new to university play as one of the most experienced players on the Cougar’s roster.
On and off the ice, Horman encompasses everything you look for in a leader—heart, determination and hustle, as described by head coach Jean LaForest when asked what type of individual the Victoria, B.C. native is.
It is these things that have helped Horman become the athlete and student he is. Whether it’s fighting to get a puck out of a corner or staying on top in the classroom, Horman is the quintessential example of a great student-athlete, according to LaForest. Currently, Horman is studying business and entrepreneurship at Mount Royal after spending most of his career with the University of Calgary Dinos hockey team.
“It just wasn’t working out with U of C and I had a good opportunity to play a lot of games [at MRU] and the school program seemed to work out better here as well,” Horman explained.
Horman’s hockey career has taken him to all different levels of competition. This includes semi-professional play in the Western Hockey League with the Spokane Chiefs and in the Central Hockey League with the Arizona Sundogs and Wichita Thunder as well as his stint with the University of Calgary Dinos in the CIS league.
“College hockey is different than pro. The schedule is much more grueling down in the States but on the other hand at the college level you have to focus on school and hockey at the same time, both have their challenges,” Horman said.
While with the Cougars, Horman has racked up 11 goals, 14 assists and 25 points overall. He is currently 13th overall in points in the ACAC conference and third on the team. It is because of the effort of players like Horman, Matt Laminrande and Ernie Stewart that the Cougs’ are currently leading their division. “He’s very focused about what he wants to do on the ice, but also knows what he wants to accomplish off the ice and that is very important,” said LaForest.
The experience he learned in the high level play demanded in the WHL and CHL helps Horman fit in with most types of coaching styles and quickly helps him adapt to the structure the Cougars have in place for their team, explained LaForest.
“When we change systems or talk about things it is very quickly absorbed and [Horman] relays the changes down his line,” he added.
Horman’s ability to lead by example has helped the Cougars achieve a record of 17-2-0-1.
“When you see a guy with that much skill and that much accomplished and see a guy work that hard, it’s good for team morale,” said Jordan McLaughlin, Cougars’ goalie.
With such a hard work ethic in hockey and everyday life, Horman said he tries to help the younger players both on the ice and in their studies.
“He’s always the guy when you watch the drills who buries the puck and goes after second and third chances and puts the puck in the net and competes hard,” said LaForest.
The future is wide open for Horman, this being his final eligible year with the Cougars, and he is keeping his plans for open.
“Hopefully [I’ll] go play professionally in the states or in Europe and if not, then start a real career and finish off my degree,” he said.
With the end of the regular season looming, it will be up to Horman and his teammates to push the team to a 2010 championship.
The next weekend of play for the big cats comes against Briercrest on Jan.29 and 30. Then the team meets up against SAIT and MacEwan before ACAC quarterfinals Feb.19.