Hayden Haldane to leave Shenendehowa hockey for juniors

Hayden Haldane of Shenendehowa and Evan Maloney of Niskayuna talk during practice at Prestige Motors Arena in Clifton Park Wednesday, August 13, 2015. (PETER R. BARBER/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)Hayden Haldane of Shenendehowa and Evan Maloney of Niskayuna talk during practice at Prestige Motors Arena in Clifton Park Wednesday, August 13, 2015. (PETER R. BARBER/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

CLIFTON PARK — For Hayden Haldane, the goal has remained the same.

“Growing up,” he said, “I’ve always wanted to play college hockey.”

Haldane, 17, is set to take the next step toward reaching that goal later this year. After playing the past three school hockey seasons with Shenendehowa, Haldane — who just finished his junior year of high school — said he is planning to play later this year for the Boston Junior Bruins of the United States Premier Hockey League, a squad based in Marlborough, Mass.

Haldane said he is likely to start his season at the “Elite” level — the middle one of the league’s three divisions — and has been told an in-season call-up to the top “Premier” division is possible if he plays well early in the campaign. The USPHL’s top division annually sends dozens of its alumni into the college ranks.

“He really wants to take this road and try it out,” said Scott Louis, who coached Haldane last season with Shenendehowa hockey. “He’s probably one of our only guys that can really do that. We’re going to miss him for sure because he’s such a huge part of our program.”

A forward, Haldane had 12 goals and six assists this past season for the Plainsmen. Giving up his senior season of high school hockey, he said, was not easy.

Hayden Haldane of Shenendehowa at practice at Prestige Motors Arena in Clifton Park Wednesday, August 13, 2015.

Hayden Haldane of Shenendehowa at practice at Prestige Motors Arena in Clifton Park Wednesday, August 13, 2015.

“It was definitely the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” said Haldane, who will head to Massachusetts in mid-August to start work toward his season with the Junior Bruins.

Playing high school hockey, Haldane said, was one of the best experiences of his life. He credited his Plainsmen coaches such as Louis, Juan de la Rocha, Bryan Hunter and Bobby Karl with the development he needed to make in these past few years to do well enough at his recent USPHL tryout in Indianapolis.

“They got me to be the player I am now,” Haldane said.

“He gives you 110 percent all the time,” Louis said. “If the right people see him, he’s going to take off.”

With the Junior Bruins, Haldane said improving his foot speed will be one of his top areas of focus as he looks to turn himself into a college-level player.  

“They [the Junior Bruins] have a great reputation with how they carry themselves,” Haldane said. “They don’t care if they have a winning season or not. What they care about is player development.”

KUHL SNAGS INVITE

Cam Kuhl, who played for Shenendehowa hockey before joining the USPHL’s P.A.L. Junior Islanders in the league’s Premier division, recently earned an invitation to the New York Islanders’ rookie camp this summer.

Kuhl helped Shenendehowa win a Section II championship in 2014.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.