Defense comes first for Huskies’ Storm

By DJ Powers

Ben Storm - St. Cloud State University

Photo: St. Clod State defenseman and Colorado Avalanche prospect Ben Storm played for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks in 2012-13 before beginning his NCAA career with the HusKies this season (courtesy of St. Cloud State)

At 6’6” and 220 pounds, St. Cloud State University freshman defenseman Ben Storm is one of the biggest players in all of NCAA college hockey. But, in addition to providing a towering presence, Storm has also been a steady defensive defenseman on the Huskies' blueline this season. The Laurium, MI native has played in 30 games so far, posting one assist.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Storm after practice on Friday at the NCAA Tournament’s West Regional at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.

Q: As one of the new guys, what it’s like for you to be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time and being able to play in this tourney relatively close to St. Cloud State?

BS: I think the experience of last year was very good for the team. Obviously I wasn’t there, but I think it has carried over to this year. The senior leadership we have has been outstanding. It’s been really easy for me to come into this program and make the adjustment with the kind of leaders that we have.

Q: One of those leaders is Kevin Gravel (LAK). How has his leadership impacted you and how has he helped make you a better player?

BS: I think Kevin just leads by example on the ice. He works his tail off on and off the ice. He doesn’t really say a whole lot but just leads by example at the rink every day. I think the rest of the defensive corps just kind of follows in his footsteps. Like me, Kevin’s from Michigan too, so I kind of knew about him before I came to St. Cloud State. So, it’s been great getting to know him.

Q: How has your role evolved since arriving at St. Cloud State and how has your size been used?

BS: When I came in, I knew that I had to work my tail off. I had to make sure that I came in and worked hard every day in practice. I’ve been working with the assistant coaches who’ve helped me in transitioning with the puck. With my size, they’ve been emphasizing that I need to be playing physical in front of the net and have some tenacity in my game. I think those things have really helped me out on the penalty kill, which I’ve kind of stepped into. So I take a lot of pride in that and it’s been working great.

Q: I know that you’re a prospect of the Colorado Avalanche. What was the experience like when the team drafted you?

BS: Coming from a small town in Michigan, it was definitely a great experience. As a kid growing up, you don’t think that there would be that chance that it would happen. But it did happen to me and it’s been a dream come true. It’s been surreal. I know that I still have a long way to go, but it’s nice to know that I’m part of the Avalanche organization. Hopefully down the road, I’ll be able to join them (at the pro level).

Q: Did you attend their prospect camp last summer?

BS: No

Q: Do you plan to attend it this summer?

BS: I think so, but it’s not definite yet. Once the season is over, I’ll figure everything out, but at this point, I’m not really thinking about it.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?

BS: I’m obviously a big defenseman (Laughs). I play physical and block a lot of shots. For me, it’s all about making the simple plays and making good breakout passes. I try to transition the puck as well as I can so that it gives our forwards a chance to score. My main goals are to continue to play physical and just play good defense.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF