By Michael Pernal
ECHL Communications Intern
Last season, R.J. Anderson was home shopping for Christmas gifts when he, himself, received an unexpected gift. It happened to be a phone call letting him know he had been traded from the Johnstown Chiefs to the Elmira Jackals.
“It certainly caught me by surprise,” Anderson said. “Going into Elmira, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it certainly was nice to improve.”
And improve he did. Traded from a Johnstown team that eventually finished last in the league to an Elmira team which won their division, Anderson had the opportunity to play in the playoffs for the first time in his professional hockey career.
“The intensity is so much higher and mistakes are magnified,” he said. “Everyone has to be on their ‘A’ game the entire game. It’s win or go home.”
As for leaving Johnstown, Anderson said, “I left some great friends behind, but the move itself was not too bad as the cities are very alike. When I got to Elmira, I found my role and was accepted with open arms. The strong Elmira fan base certainly helped.”
During the offseason, Anderson has been training and working hockey camps.
“I also have enjoyed just putting my line in the water going Muskie fishing,” said an excited Anderson.
Looking ahead to the upcoming 2010-11 ECHL season, Anderson knows that the Jackals will have a good team once again.
“With Coach Cameron coming aboard, anything less than coming out on top would certainly be a down year,” he said. “We should have a good team with the goal to advance as far as we can in the playoffs.”
For Jackals players and fans alike, hopefully that means ending the season with a Kelly Cup Championship.