This month we will start a new series called, “Where are they now?”. Goal is to highlight past members that have gone through the program. If you don’t know now, you will soon realize hockey is one of the most connected and incredible communities out there. Every player has a specific goal, whether that is playing High School, College, or Professional hockey. At some point hockey will come to an end. Our first is former member and coach is Drew Aspinwall. The Maple Grove native started with us as a 9th grader. After his career at Maple Grove was over he took his talents to the NAHL and eventually ended up having a great career at Gustavus Adolphus College. For two years Drew helped coach at MAP and passed on his knowledge to our members.
When did you start playing hockey?
- I started playing hockey when I was about 4 years old. The first few years were extremely low-key, but once I realized hockey was my favorite sport things started getting more competitive.
When did you start with MAP?
- I started training at MAP when I was in 9th Those were the earlier days of the program. If I had the opportunity to train there earlier, I definitely would have.
What was your favorite thing about being a Member?
- As a MAP member my favorite thing was how accessible everything was. In a few hours I could shoot pucks, foam roll, workout, and skate. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention GAME DAY!
What was your favorite thing about being a Coach?
- The best part of coaching at MAP was the fulfillment I got from teaching younger players. It was nice knowing that you helped inspire a younger player or helped them achieve one of their goals.
- Another upside was that I could personally benefit myself as a player while I coached. Not many players can physically be on their skates for five hours a day all summer long. Whether it was competing against the players or throwing 500 saucer passes a day, there were always parts of my game I could tune-up on the job.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a young upcoming hockey player?
- Every player should go out of their way to become a student of the game as early as they can. There were many aspects of hockey related to training, nutrition, the X’s and O’s, and life in general that I wished I would have learned earlier. If you can figure these things early, you will become a better player in the long run.
Now that you have graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, what are you doing now?
- Right now, I am working at FLW – the world’s largest bass fishing tournament organization. We run hundreds of bass fishing tournaments each year all around the country. I run all of FLW’s the social media channels (like us as @flwfishing) along with assisting in other marketing and public relations tasks.
What do you like most about your job?
- Aside from hockey, fishing and enjoying the outdoors have always been my other passions in life. At my job I get the opportunity to develop my professional skills along with dealing with fishing related business. Plus, going to south Florida in the middle of January to work at bass fishing tournaments isn’t that bad either.
How has hockey and/or MAP prepared you for life after hockey?
- There’s no doubt that I would not be where I am at today without hockey and MAP. The ups and downs from playing a sport as intense as hockey has helped me develop the work ethic and perseverance that I will benefit from throughout my entire life.