By Steve Robinson | January 30, 2019 - 10:48 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

Andrew Meyer is your typical high school senior in many respects in that he’s finishing up his senior year at University High, he’s completed looking at his college options and decided on where he will go to college by now, and looks forward to graduating and beginning his college career.

But Andrew is not typical in terms of being a high school student in that his weekends are occupied participating in a sport he said he enjoys, hockey. To that end, since the beginning of his junior year, he has been playing goalie for the Chicago Bruins, members of the Central States Developmental Hockey League. The level of play the team Andrew is on is called Midget Major Under 18. At that level, players compete in a full 30-game regular season schedule which runs from late September through early February followed by playoffs. The Bruins coach at that level is Mike Rohdenburg.

Also at that level, these young men get a sampling of not just teams from the Chicago area, but also from St. Louis, Arizona, and California. Western states’ teams use up airfare while in-state teams play home games, the Meyers explained.

That also has meant that Andrew, son of Scott Meyer, and Dr. Barbara Meyer, has been on the road most weekends for the team’s home games played in the Chicago suburb of Addison. It has also meant traveling up to Addison for twice weekly practices, too. As long as he kept his grades up, his parents had no issue with Andrew playing for the team, his father explained. To do that, Andrew added, has meant doing homework in his father’s vehicle en route to practices.

As important as his grades are, of course, so is the position Andrew plays. You see, Andrew Meyer plays “between the pipes,” as they say, for the Bruins. That’s right, he’s the goalie. And he’s their first string goalie.

Andrew has been playing hockey since second grade in programs which took place in the Pepsi Ice Center adjacent to Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington, known as U. S. Cellular Coliseum when he started. “The fast pace of the game and the excitement it brought to the crowd” is what Andrew said appealed to him when he was young and still holds his interest today.

But Andrew wasn’t always a big hockey fan, he admits. As a kid, he started out as a basketball fan. “I would always watch hockey on TV and he’d watch with me,” Scott Meyer explained. From that interaction, the fascination with hitting the ice grew.

Because there was no league or teams in the vicinity of the Twin Cities when Andrew got to the age level he was at now, when the time came to try out for a team so he could try to continue playing, “I headed up to Chicago to find a team for my age level.” He found the level of competition he was seeking when he tried out for the Bruins prior to the start of last season.

Toward the end of Andrew’s first season, the Bruins won their State Tournament which allowed them to advance to a national tournament. At the national level, the Bruins, under Rohdenburg, won the State Tournament and got as far as the quarterfinals of the national tourney before their season ended. When they finished the national tournament, the Bruins were ranked sixth out of 400 teams nationwide, Scott Meyer explained.

Andrew is needed to participate in two team practices a week in Addison and stays overnight with a teammate when there are back-to-back games on weekends.

It’s been exciting to see your kid excel at a higher level of hockey than what was available here,” Scott Meyer said.

“Andrew was phenomenal,” said Rohdenburg of Andrew after his tryout with the team prior to last season. “I liked him from the first time I saw him. His size and how he moves is what struck me” from the beginning, the veteran coach added. “He has a good knack for the game and for the puck. He has great size, he’s poised in the net.”

Of the commitment Andrew’s parents have made the past two years, Rohdenburg said, “Scott and Barb have been phenomenal. They haven’t missed anything in two years.”

Although last season was exciting for the Bruins what with all they achieved, this season has not gone as well, the Meyers said. They finished the regular season with a record of 12-9-9. There are no overtimes to break ties in CSDHL. But the team is looking forward to getting into the playoffs, Scott Meyer added.

Last month, with three colleges trying to convince him to choose them for his college experience, Andrew committed to attended Illinois State University where he will play for the Division I team the Redbirds have in the sport. In the last four years, Rohdenburg has seen a number of players move up to that level. Andrew will become the eighth player to do so.

In a press release announcing Andrew’s signing with ISU, that team’s head coach, Bobby DiNardi said, “We’re happy to have Andrew as a Redbird. He’s a good kid that I’ve personally watched grow on and off the ice over the years. We’re excited to see his progression in the next four years and fills a huge need for the organization.”

Andrew told me he is considering aiming his major studies at ISU toward the field of Kinesiology. Studying that subject, Andrew said, came into focus for him as what he wanted to do as his life’s work just in the last six months.

Playing for ISU will be fun for Andrew as he continues to apply himself in the sport and work toward his college studies during that period. It will also save on mileage for his folks, too. But what I suspect Andrew has learned from the experience of the last two years will travel with him the rest of his life.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 at 10:48 pm and is filed under The Normalite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.