By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
It can’t be easy to make the adjustment from college to professional hockey.
It certainly can’t be easy to make the adjustment of changing your address from Maine to Alaska, either.
But Josh Soares is doing just fine, thank you.
After a solid four-year career at the University of Maine, the 25-year-old rookie is off to a torrid start with the Alaska Aces. Sixteen games into his pro career, the Hamilton, Ontario native has 10 goals and nine assists.
“I couldn’t be asking for a better start right now,” Soares said. “Things have been going real well. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to score and help produce for my team. I’m just real happy with how things are going.”
So is Alaska coach Keith McCambridge, as Soares’ start has helped the Aces come out of the gate with a 10-5-1 record. McCambridge has been impressed with the attitude Soares has brought to the rink on a daily basis.
“He came into Anchorage and he’s played well every game,” McCambridge said. “His intensity, his competition level … it’s second to none. Obviously, his scoring ability has been a definite added bonus for us.”
It certainly caught the eyes of several members of the St. Louis Blues’ organization, as Soares went from a 45-point season in his senior year at Maine to the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Peoria. While he only appeared in one game, Soares learned plenty about what it was going to take to succeed at the professional level.
“It was different,” Soares said of the transition. “I was happy I got the opportunity, just to see what the difference in the game was. The speed wasn’t that much faster. I just felt the players were bigger and stronger, and they’re positioned better. The puck moves quicker. Guys make quicker decisions.”