Florida Kid gets his Shot at Juniors in Canada, Rejoins Friend

By on September 13, 2012

Connor Eckhardt gets a medal with the Central Florida Knights…First Place!  (Eckhardt Family photo)

Tampa, Fla. – Connor Eckhardt was all smiles today as he left the Bay Area today bound for Ontario.  Connor is headed to the Lefroy Wave of the GMHL in Lefroy, Ontario.  The league is in its 6th season. The Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL) has fourteen teams that play a 42-game schedule. The GMHL was founded by Bob Russell and Hockeyworks International Ltd.  At the Junior A Tier 2 level with players maintaining their amateur status.

Eckhardt  a 6’2” , 160 pound 17 year old was born in Dayton, Ohio and moved to Cape Coral, Florida with his family at three years old.

Eckhardt started playing competitive hockey at 10 years old playing roller hockey with the Lakeland Stars and the Tampa Arsenal and then moved on to the Central Florida Synergy.  Connor with the Synergy competed at the North America Roller Hockey Championships.

Eckhardt then took to the ice at the World Hockey Centre in Canada in the summer of 2007. He played under the instruction of Trevor Fahey at TBSA in Oldsmar for the Raiders at the tier 2 bantam level -travel hockey.    After two seasons with the Raiders,  Eckhardt played for the Kississmee Colts coached by Kevin Conway at two levels bantam and U16.  Connor then played for Peter Nyman and the Central Florida Knights in Maitland, Florida.

Most recently Eckhardt has played the last three seasons (freshman, sophomore, junior) with the George Jenkins Eagles high school team of the Lightning Conference in the Florida High School Hockey Association.

Connor said, “It’s just my dream to go up there and play.  I mean it’s the greatest opportunity of my life.  I’ve trained up in Canada for a couple years, practiced and played down here (Florida) as much as I could.”

Eckhardt rejoins his friend Dan Rocha, the goalie for Lefroy Wave who Eckhardt met his first year in Canada.  Rocha said, “We dreamed and talked about this together.  He (Connor) always talked about coming back up here and playing, and now it’s kind of surreal that it’s happening.  The team has been together for two weeks, there is only two or three veterans, the rest are rookies but we look like a pretty strong squad.”

Wendy Eckhardt,  Connor’s mother, who also works as a hockey correspondent for Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network,  said, “All Connor has ever talked about is playing hockey for the Michigan Wolverines and then becoming a  NHL hockey player . This is an amazing opportunity for him; he has worked hard to get to this point.  When he’s not playing he’s watching his favorite player’s instructional videos to improve his skills.  Maintaining amateur status at this level is a great road to college hockey.”

GMHL:  http://gmhl.net/

Lefroy Wave:   http://www.lefroywave.com/

For Donations:        http://www.gofundme.com/15fmn8

 

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