NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – As his teammates are loading up the bus to head to Topeka, Brahmas goaltender Erik Gordon will be landing in Michigan to meet up with the U17 USA Hockey National Team Development Program squad.
Wednesday was a whirlwind of a day for Gordon, who arrived at the rink and was told to meet with Head Coach Dan Wildfong in his office. There, Gordon learned that the U17 USNTDP was interested in having him play with them, including two starts this weekend.
“It was pretty out of the blue,” Gordon said. “Dan called me into his office this morning and told me that they needed a goalie and that I was going to be the guy, so I was obviously pretty excited about that.”
When opportunity knocks, you open the door. Gordon opened the door and accepted the offer. His initial stint with the U17 team will last for two weeks, after which all parties involved will assess what the best option for Gordon is.
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Wildfong said. “This might be a short stint or it may be a long term thing for him, but we are obviously really excited for him. We want to move our guys on any way we can, and for him to play for a Team USA program is awesome for him and awesome for our organization.”
As a ’99 birth year, 5-foot-10, 160 pound Gordon is the youngest Brahma on the active roster. That hasn’t stopped him from posting an impressive 11-2 record with a .909 SV% in 17 games played. He also boasts a 2.23 GAA, good for fifth in the NAHL.
“Look at his record,” Wildfong said. “It shows that he can play in this league and be successful.”
Not only has Gordon been successful, he’s had stretches of pure dominance. At one point during the season, he strung together ten wins in ten starts. In the midst of that run, he was honored by the league as the South Division Star of the Week.
Now, he’ll be getting his crack at the USHL, albeit with very little notice. “I’ve spoken to the goalie coach. I’ve known him for several years, just through summer camps, and he gave me the rundown on what was going on and that I was going to be playing this week,” Gordon said.
If Wednesday was a whirlwind, the rest of this week will prove to be one as well. After arriving in Michigan today, Gordon will have an evening to get settled in, and then turn around on Friday and get right into the thick of things, attending morning skate less than 24 hours after leaving Texas.
Then, he’ll take to the ice for Team USA to make his first USHL start. Saturday will be more of the same. If past performance is any indication, Gordon will take it all in stride.
Gordon will play against the Chicago Steel on Friday night and the Youngstown Phantoms on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7:00 EST on both nights, and games will be streamed on HockeyTV.