Graduating Knights captain Ericsson reflects on ’15-16
As a 1995 birth year, Jim Ericsson knew this past season with the Western States Hockey League’s Phoenix Knights would be his last in junior hockey.
And aside from not winning the Thorne Cup, he said the 2015-16 campaign was “the most fun I’ve had playing hockey in a long time.”
“On a team level, I think the season went well,” said Ericsson. “While we fell short of our ultimate goal of winning the league, we accomplished our goal of making it to the playoffs. I think we’ve come a long way from last year. I can’t express how much fun it was playing for the Knights organization, for the coaching staff, and all of my teammates.”
Being named captain this season was the icing on the cake for Ericsson.
“I grew up watching the Polar Bears, so when ‘Walks’ (coach-GM Chris Walker) asked me to wear the ‘C,’ I didn’t take it lightly,” Ericsson said. “I’ve always tried to lead by example and I feel as a team we were always working for each other. One of the biggest highlights of the year for us was making playoffs, but that was one among many.”
Personally, Ericsson said one highlight stands out for him from the season.
“Points, big hits and fights aside, my real personal highlight was my decision to come play for the Knights,” beamed Ericsson. “Playing at home with friends and family near me helped make the year fun. And with how organized this team was, that made the season that much more enjoyable. It meant a lot that my family was able to watch me play my last season.”
As for the future, Ericsson this season was the wrap on competitive hockey. He has his EMT certification and plans on pursuing a career in fire safety.
Looking to next season, though, Ericsson likes what the future looks like for his now-former team.
“They have a good core group of young players and a great coaching staff,” Ericsson said. “They’ll do well.”
— Matt Mackinder