In 1996, JP Parise, father of Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, was approached to take over a fledgling hockey program for a small but well known boarding school in Faribault, Minnesota. Since then, the program has gone on to win multiple national championships at all levels of minor hockey while attracting the services of young talented stars like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Nathan MacKinnon.
Those players, and many more playing high level hockey all over North America, made Shattuck-St. Mary’s a stop on their journey to the NHL because of its tradition of excellence. Traditions designed to not only cultivate the talents of some of the best young players in the world, but to also teach these young men how to be well rounded individuals both on and off the ice.
Jordan Greenway was only 13 years old when he made his way to Minnesota in the fall of 2010 to play for the Shattuck Sabres' Tier 1 Bantam team. A native of Potsdam, New York, Faribault provided Greenway with the familiar landscape of a small, hockey-crazed town.
"Upstate New York is where I'm from and it's a pretty big hockey place,” explained Greenway. “Most of my family members played hockey and it runs in the family. As a kid I played above my own age level and I've always wanted to play at my age level so I told my parents I wanted to go to a prep school. I was limited on the prep schools I can go to because not many of them offer a team in the 8th grade. Shattuck's was one of them and I visited there and I thought it was great and I made the team. That's how it all started.”
In his first season with the Sabres’ Tier 1 Bantam team, Greenway put up 58 points in 61 games. While most players would be thrilled with scoring close to a point per game, Greenway was only tenth in team scoring on a powerhouse Sabres squad, something he wanted to improve on. Over the summer, Greenway worked on his conditioning and individual skills so that when he returned to Shattuck in the fall, he would be an even bigger threat on the ice.
The following year, on the same Tier 1 Bantam team, Greenway exploded for 126 points in 60 games. Greenway led his team in scoring by a sizeable margin and attracted the attention of CHL and college scouts. Already 6’4” and 212 pounds, Greenway’s size and skill set made him a hard-to-miss prospect.
"I'm a power forward and I can see the ice pretty well. I use my size down low,” says Greenway when asked to describe what type of player he is.
Greenway credits his Tier 1 coach, John LaFontaine, with helping him grow as a player. LaFontaine, brother of Hall of Fame NHL player Pat LaFontaine, was coach of the Bozeman Icedogs of the NAHL prior to joining Shattuck's hockey. LaFontaine knew what Greenway would have to work on before making the jump to the next level.
"He never stopped working on me,” said Greenway. “He was always on my case. I think he was a very big part of my development while I was there (at Shattucks). Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now."
The next season, Greenway would graduate to Shattuck’s U16 Midget team where he again led the Sabres in scoring. In 46 games played, Greenway netted 23 goals and 39 assists. With the 16th overall selection in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection, the Plymouth Whalers made Greenway their first pick of the draft.
While being a high pick in the OHL draft is an honor, it does not always mean the player has to play for the team that drafts them. Greenway wanted to keep his options open and opted to commit to play for the U.S National Team Development Program (NTDP) in Ann Arbor, Michigan instead of joining the Whalers, which would have made him ineligible for the NCAA. The U.S. NTDP competes in the USHL, America’s highest level of junior hockey, and is also a pipeline to the NCAA.
In December of 2013, after a few short months of playing for the U.S. national team, Greenway made the announcement that he would be joining the Boston University Terriers at the start of the 2015-16 season.
"I've been in the Midwest since I was young and I wanted to come back closer to home and be able to have my parents go out and watch my games," explains Greenway on why he chose Boston University over the other D1 programs.
In addition to being closer to Potsdam than Faribault, Ann Arbor, or Plymouth, Boston University also has an excellent track record of developing players and preparing them for the NHL. The storied hockey program boasts an impressive resume with 21 Frozen Four appearances and five National Championships, with 2009 being their most recent win.
Playing for the U.S. national program has given Greenway a chance to not only play in the USHL, but to play for the U.S. national U17 team, as well. In 20 games for the junior team so far this season, Greenway has 15 points. In 24 games for the U17 team, Greenway has 19 points.
As a member of the U.S. national U17 team, Greenway recently participated in the World U17 Hockey Challenge hosted by Hockey Canada. The tournament showcases ten teams from all over the world including five regional Canadian teams. Annual participants also include Sweden and Russia, two teams known for their international success at all levels of amateur hockey.
This year’s U.S. team was one of the favorites to win the tournament and they did not disappoint. After facing tough competition in the preliminary rounds, Team USA would face off against Team Canada-Pacific for the championship. Team USA would hold Team Canada-Pacific scoreless and win 4-0. While Greenway did not score in the final game, he did put up five points in six games throughout the tournament. For Greenway, this was his first taste of international play.
"With the team we had this year, winning gold really put the experience over the edge. That was our ultimate goal. We came in there and we were really looking forward to getting to the championship and bringing the gold home,” says Greenway.
Robby Jackson had Chicago’s lone goal against Cedar Rapids in a 4-1 loss. That goal gives him 21 points in 37 games so far this season.
Jansen Harkins continues to show reliability and strength as Prince George’s pivot and has improved to 14 points in 43 games as the season winds down for the Cougars.
Next Time in Beyond Tomorrow
The next feature will move west to the WHL and take a look at Portland Winterhawks left winger, Paul Bittner. Bittner is a native of Crookston, Minnesota, a small town located in the northern part of the state. This is Bittner’s second season with the Winterhawks.