Phoenix native Castor named NAHL playoffs MVP, wins title with Mudbugs
Jaxon Castor is the type of hockey player that finds positives in the face of adversity.
Starting this past season with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, Castor was traded to the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs mid-season and wound up leading the Louisiana-based franchise to the Robertson Cup national championship in just the team’s second season of operation.
“It was a shock, but I kind of saw it coming,” said Castor, a Phoenix native. “It was extremely tough leaving people I’ve built relationships with those two and a half years in Dubuque, but I knew I had a good opportunity in Shreveport and I just tried to have a positive attitude towards the whole situation.”
Castor wound up being named Robertson Cup MVP for his efforts in May’s tournament as the Mudbugs downed the Minot Minotauros in the championship final on May 14. He stopped 15 of 16 shots in the win and allowed just two goals in three games during the Robertson Cup.
“Thinking back on that game, it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” the 21-year-old Castor said. “To do it with such an awesome group of guys made that night very special.”
Growing up, Castor also played for the Chandler Jr. Polar Bears, Arizona Hockey Union and Jr. Coyotes and said his influential coaches were Chuck Shott, Greg Avant, Sean Hill and Mike Vukonich, among others. And through it all, he was always a goaltender.
“I started going to Coyotes, Phoenix Mustangs and Roadrunners games at an early age and I just remember loving it, so I always pretended to be a goalie,” said Castor. “I’d have my older brother, Joey, shoot on me in our living room. I started playing roller hockey in my cul-de-sac and then I eventually got skating lessons at Chandler Polar Ice. I had no interest in being a player; I was always a goalie, even in Mini Mites.”
Castor noted that as he has aged out of juniors, he “has no idea what I’m going to do next year.”
— Matt Mackinder
(July 26, 2018)