Duck Bay's Daniel Chartrand's college hockey career with the Northland College Lumberjacks (Division 3 NCAA) has begun.
The 21-year-old has now played three games with the team, and they're off to a 0-2-1 start.
"Things have been going really good, but the training camp process was definitely a little bit different because it was longer," said Chartrand. "We only had one exhibition game compared to several in junior, so that was something I had to adapt to. We have a great group of guys. The hockey is different here as well."
"The speed is relatively somewhat the same, but most of the guys are so much bigger and stronger than what I'm used to," he added. "You can't really just get by with straight skill, you have to come in every night and work your butt off."
Training camp for Chartrand and the rest of the Lumberjacks started up in September. Things started to ramp up in October as the team prepared to start their season. But, the season didn't really start until October 30 when the club played the University of Wisconsin-EAU Claire.
That mean's it was a ton of ice time for the boys but no real action for quite a while.
"It was actually pretty tough off the start," said Chartrand. "It got easier once we started skating a lot. It's just how things are done out here, so it's just something I have to get used to."
That game against Wisconsin-EAU Claire was also Chartrand's first ever real college hockey game. It ended up being a 3-2 loss.
"My first game was good, and the crowd was excellent," added Chartrand. "They scored with three minutes left on a lucky bounce, so that was kinda tough. Just the whole experience was completely eye-opening for me. It changed the way I look at collegiate hockey. It's all about doing the little things here and that's how success happens."
Fast forward five days. Chartrand and the boys hit the ice once again to take on Aurora University. They also lost that game 5-3. But, it was a historic day for the Duck Bay native. He scored his first ever collegiate goal just 4:23 into the first.
"It was kind of funny because in the dressing room before the game even started, some of the vets came up to me and said I was going to score my first goal," said Chartrand. "I joked back and said yeah, I thought I saw something in the newspaper about me scoring my first goal. It was a super good feeling."
"After it happened I sort of blacked out," he added. "I didn't know what to do so I just put my hands up and the boys came and gave me a big hug. If it wasn't for my two senior linemates, I probably would have never scored."
Chartrand's First Collegiate Goal:
Scoring that goal was big for a couple of reasons for Chartrand. He's officially got the monkey off his back, and now he can just focus on doing the little things right, without having to worry about scoring.
"Yeah, exactly, it gives me a confidence booster right now and it's just nice that it's out of the way," added Chartrand. "Now I can just focus on the little things, so like winning faceoffs and the battles down low. It takes some pressure off me, and now I'm hoping I can continue my success for the whole season."
Although Daniel's family missed his first-ever collegiate goal, maybe they'll see his second. Northland College will host "Parent's Weekend" coming up this weekend. They'll play two home games starting tomorrow and wrapping up on Saturday.
"It means the world to me that my family is coming down to watch me play the game I love," said Chartrand. "Family comes first in my life and sports second. Words can't even describe how thankful I am for my family. I can't wait to see them."
There's no doubt big things are coming for Daniel.