From Santa Fe to Sacred Heart: Barliant’s hockey journey
When scouring college hockey rosters, one will see that the majority of players hail from hockey hotbeds of Michigan, Minnesota and New England.
Take a look at the NCAA Division I roster for Sacred Heart University and one player’s vitals stand out.
Jackson Barliant – Hometown, Santa Fe, N.M.
Not too many top-level hockey players have come out of New Mexico, but Barliant is the exception to the rule it seems.
“As my family moved to New Mexico from Chicago before I was born, my dad and his family grew up playing hockey,” explained Barliant, who just completed his sophomore year with the Atlantic Hockey school based in Fairfield, Conn. “When my dad caught news of the Genoveva Chavez Community Center being built, he knew that I, too, would continue the tradition.”
In his youth days, Barliant played for both the Santa Fe youth hockey program as well as the travel program in Rio Rancho. He left home in his teens to play AAA hockey in Colorado for the Colorado Thunderbirds and Pikes Peak Miners and later played junior hockey in the North American Hockey League for the Soo Eagles and the United States Premier Hockey League for the Baystate Breakers before starting at SHU in the fall of 2015.
During his freshman season at Sacred Heart, Barliant posted a goal and four points in 26 games. He only saw action in eight games this past season after tearing his MCL.
“My sophomore year revealed itself to be a true test of character,” said Barliant. “After getting injured early on in the season, I was left watching a lot of hockey for nearly the entirety of the season. Despite my injury, it was a very defining year as a team. The year began with an exciting move to our new rink, Webster Bank Arena, and a very challenging out-of-conference schedule. Despite both our record and playoff appearance being somewhat disappointing, there was truly a team consensus that the year inspired large amounts of growth within our locker room.
“Despite the many obstacles that I was forced to overcome, I can truly say that I learned a lot about myself and my team from a perspective that I had not seen before.”
In the classroom, Barliant is currently double majoring in Finance and Economics, with a minor in Mathematics.
“Being injured this year, I was able to truly give my schoolwork and degree an amount of attention that I had not been able to previously provide,” said Barliant. “I also had the privilege of joining the Student Managed Investment Fund, which helped expose me to a new-found passion within my major. Through the support of our team academic advisors, I was able to finish my first two years at school with a 3.87 GPA and as a team, we were also able to achieve the highest cumulative GPA for any team on campus.
His plans for the spring and summer include staying in Connecticut to both train and start a summer internship at Barnum Financial Group focusing on advising and wealth management.
Barliant has advice for young hockey players growing up back home that are passionate about the game of hockey.
“I would definitely say that despite the sport of hockey still being rather small within the state, with hard work it is more than possible to move on to play high levels of hockey,” said Barliant. “Despite this, hockey is growing tremendously within the Southwest, as both Colorado and Arizona have made tremendous strides in regard to their player development. With this being the case, it is truly only a matter of time until this same growth takes place within the state of New Mexico.
“I definitely believe that the re-introduction of a high-level junior team would also help to cater to the growth of youth hockey within the state.”
— Matt Mackinder