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Monday, May 2, 2011

Top USA Prospect Taylor Vickerman

Taylor Vickerman
Spokane Jr. Chiefs Bantam AAA
6-0 175
April 12, 1996

Explain a little bit first about where you played your minor hockey and some of the main highlights growing up playing the game?
I started playing when I was about 3-years-old in the beginner’s program in Tri-Cities, Washington. I played in Tri-Cities through peewees. This year I am playing for the Spokane Jr. Chiefs Bantam AAA team coached by Cam Severson. Some of my main team highlights are from this year. We’ve won several tournaments including the Washington State Tier I Championship. And we go to San Jose March 3-6 for the Pacific District Championships and are looking to go to Nationals from there. Some of my main individual highlights are being selected for the USA Hockey Select-14 National Festival last summer and getting to play for Coach Severson this year. I won fastest skater at the Seafair tournament which was pretty cool.

As you have progressed through the ranks, it has become apparent that you are one of the better players in Washington State. How would you compare the caliber of hockey in the US Northwest to some of the Canadian players or teams?
Hockey is different in all parts of North America. But for me, the type of hockey I like is drive-to-the-net and hard work -- which is in both the western US and Canada. Our team has played well against some good BC teams this year. Our next big test against some of the top teams from BC will be at KIBIHT in April. But I definitely love playing in Canada. The hockey is so good up there. I’ve probably played more games in Canada than in the US this year.

What are your plans for the next couple seasons as you move on to midget hockey? Do you plan on staying in the US or perhaps heading north of the border?
I am definitely looking to join a top midget program – either in the US or Canada. I’m just looking for a program with solid coaching, that will help me progress in developing my skills and that will help me get to the next level. I haven’t committed to a program for next year yet.

 Do you have interest in playing in the WHL and if so, how much are you starting to think about the US prospects camp and the draft afterwards?
I’ll just put my game out there and see what happens. I just want to play at the highest level possible. Whatever direction that is I am open to it.

What skills set you apart right now from some of the other players in your age group?
I think of myself as a big power forward with skill and hockey sense. I like playing with a strong work ethic and a passion to win. Even though I like to drive hard to the net, I also take pride in my passing and my stats show that I can be an assist guy as well.

What weaknesses in your game would you like to work on to get your game to the next level?
I want to continue working on my speed. My skating coach is helping me
me with that. And I want to work on finding open ice.

Finally, which NHL or WHL players do you look up to in terms of hockey skill, talent or leadership? Who would you like to pattern your game after?
I look up to Tyler Johnson because he’s at the top in the WHL in points, he’s smart with the puck, and he’s such a great skater. In the NHL, I like Jonathan Toews because he’s a big guy like me and I study how he goes to the corners and always comes out with the puck and uses his body with strength and confidence. I would like to pattern my game after Alex Ovechkin. He goes into the corners with speed and isn’t afraid to get rough. Plus he has great hands and a great shot.

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