Determination a key ingredient to Vegas’ Smejkal earning NCAA D-III commitment to Anna Maria
Noah Smejkal only started playing hockey when he was 14.
Just seven years later, the Las Vegas native is taking his game to the NCAA ranks after recently committing to Anna Maria College, a Division III school in Paxton, Mass.
“Me and the coaching staff had been talking since the start of the season,” said Smejkal. “They have been keeping track of my games and watched video on me and liked what they saw. They discussed and decided I would be a good fit for the team. I’m proud of how far I have come in a short amount of time, but I know there is so much more work to be done.
“It only gets harder from here.”
Smejkal, who is looking to major in Business Administration at Anna Maria, said he will do anything asked of him on the ice.
“I think I’m a good two-way forward and I want to help out my team at both ends of the ice,” said Smejkal. “At the same time, coming in as a freshman, anywhere will be a learning experience for me, and I think it will boost my development playing with great players and coaches around me. I take the classroom very seriously, and that’ll be an important part of the season as well.”
Growing up in Las Vegas, Smejkal started in house leagues and then worked his way up to the old Nevada Storm teams and finishing off with the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights his junior and senior years of high school.
“Some of the coaches that have always been there for me and helped me from Day 1 would be Kenny Brooks and Jordan Van Son,” Smejkal said. “Another positive influence was Scott Allegrini. They’ve always given me advice and helped me along the way.”
At the end of the 2019-20 season, Smejkal was named the recipient of the Mark Workman Scholarship, an award given to a current high school senior in the Jr. Golden Knights program who best exemplifies passion, sportsmanship, team play, work ethic, discipline, community service and academic achievement. Workman was a scout for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights who passed away in 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Smejkal went on to play junior hockey for the NA3HL’s Northeast Generals, SIJHL’s Wisconsin Lumberjacks and GMHL’s Windsor Aces.
Going forward, Smejkal has lofty aspirations, on and off the ice.
“I want to play hockey as long as possible and continue developing within the game,” said Smejkal. “It’s something I love to do and something that excites me every single day. Obviously, I want to get my degree as well, and I think I’m in an environment at Anna Maria to accomplish both of those goals.”
— Matt Mackinder
(July 20, 2023)