Poway’s Herrman making the grade as first-year player in USHL
If you’re a kid growing up playing ice hockey in California, the lure of playing in a top-level junior program remains strong.
Tougher, faster, stronger: it appears to be the route taken by many players to major college programs and even the National Hockey League.
Poway’s Rory Herrman has taken that path, and appears to be flourishing.
An accomplished forward for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 16U Tier 1 Elite Hockey League team and last season’s CIF/Metro Conference Player of the Year in roller hockey for Poway High School, Herrman is now playing for the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Herrman is also a Los Angeles Jr. Kings alum and is committed to NCAA Division I Arizona State University for the 2018-19 season.
“Everything’s going great here,” Herrman said. “It’s definitely different living in Green Bay, and come winter time, I’m really going to start missing the weather back home.”
Herrman has been accustomed to long road trips with his Tier I travel ice teams, and this isn’t his first exposure to the USHL. Last season, Hermann received a call-up to the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP) Under-17 team that competes in the league. He played in three USHL games as a 16-year-old.
However, those long road trips to the Midwest always ended with a return trip to California.
“Living away from home is tough, but the team provides us with awesome billet families to stay with,” Herrman reported. “My billet family is amazing. We have awesome dinners every night and they are extremely friendly people. The good environment at our house here makes the move easier.”
He’s also become introduced to a different culture.
“The city’s pretty small and they are all huge Packer fans,” Herrman said. “It’s definitely one of the nicer places to live considering some of the other places where there are teams in the USHL.”
This would have been Herrman’s senior season at Poway High School. However, he continues to work toward graduation in Wisconsin.
“I’ve been going to school here as well,” he said. “The school systems pretty great here. There are six high schoolers on the team and we go through the same schedule pretty much every day. We go to school from 7:30 a.m. to 1:17 p.m., then go straight to practice for a good hour-and-a-half skate, then we work out with our trainer afterward. We get home around 4:30 or 5 p.m. every day.
The high school kids definitely have it harder cause we are just constantly doing things. There’s really not too much rest time.
“Sad I’m missing out on Poway roller hockey this season.”
Hermann said he’s found the competition challenging in the USHL, which is one of the reasons he elected to play in the league.
“The competition is immensely different from what I played last year,” he said. “I jumped from 16U AAA youth hockey into the best junior league in the United States and even all of North America. The players are treated as professionals and, in saying that, we have to act like professionals as well.
“On the ice everything is ridiculously faster. It’s definitely hard being a 17-year-old in the league, but I feel every day I’m starting to adapt and get better. The USHL itself gives you an abundance of resources, whether it be all the great gear or just all the great opportunities through the ice time and workouts with the best coaches I’ve ever worked with.
“Green Bay has been a great spot for me. Our coach (Pat Mikesch) is great and is constantly teaching me every day. I’m loving it here right now. It’s not often a kid from Poway gets to wake up every morning and play the sport they love across the country, all the while going to school and enjoying life. I’m really lucky to have what I have right now and I plan on using my time here to the fullest.”
Photo/Green Bay Gamblers/USHL
— Phillip Brents