Ice Wolves grad, Albuquerque native Payson developing in USPHL
Seth Payson is just 17, but already playing junior hockey this season for the USPHL’s New York Aviators.
When asked how the season has gone so far in Brooklyn, the Albuquerque native said that “it’s going pretty good.”
“One of the main reasons I came here was for development,” Payson said. “I’m getting at least 10 hours of ice time per week, and that’s just not something you can get in New Mexico. With that, I can already see myself developing, and it’s great. On top of that, the team is incredibly skilled.”
Over the summer, Payson went to a couple showcases and Aviators coach Mike Stanaway was at one in Chicago. He asked Payson if he wanted to play for the Aviators’ Premier team and he accepted.
“I was always interested in the sport but when I actually decided I wanted to play was after my dad (Russ) started taking me to Scorpions games back when they were a pro team,” said Payson. “That’s pretty much when I fell in love with the game.”
Growing up, Payson played for the New Mexico Ice Wolves, Taos Roadrunners and La Cueva High School. He also had a pretty influential coach.
“My dad has pretty much coached me throughout my youth hockey years,” said Payson. “When we’re on the ice together, he’s more than my dad, he’s my coach, so I thank him for always making me show up to practice and pushing me, even when I wasn’t in the mood.”
Looking ahead, Payson is hoping a solid season in the USPHL leads to an opportunity in the NAHL. He also wants to be another on the short list of New Mexico natives to play NCAA Division I hockey.
Payson also sees hockey in New Mexico continuing to grow, and he’s excited to be part of that growth.
“Yes, hockey exists there,” Payson said. “Hockey is not a big sport in New Mexico, but it has most definitely grown in the past 10 years, even if it is not something you hear about on an everyday basis.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 1, 2018)