Tommy Hendrickson’s story is one of persistence and perseverance.
Hendrickson’s story needs to be told not to add undue pressure to the kid or his hockey goals and aspirations, but to inspire others to believe that road less travelled can be the most rewarding.
The 16 year olds story isn’t about the future, it’s about the present, it’s about embracing the grind, trusting the process, but most of all trusting in your own abilities.
Trust and confidence are any young defender’s greatest allies. Nevertheless, those two attributes are fragile when a player doesn’t live up to their own lofty expectations.
Every player no matter what wants to play at the highest level possible. They want to play against the best and see where they stand. That opportunity hasn’t always been possible for Tommy Hendrickson.
A matter of fact I don’t think he would change that for the world given his current path, success and trajectory in the game.
You see Tommy Hendrickson had to climb every rung of hockey’s developmental ladder to reach success with the Moncton Flyers of NB/PEI Major U-18 AAA Hockey League.
The Finish Line
“It’s not where you start, but where you finish.” That’s about as cliche as it gets, but it perfectly describes Tommy Hendrickson ascension in the game.
The finish line is no where to be seen, right now for Hendrickson and that’s perfectly ok given his current progress.
The current chapter of his story isn’t about the QMJHL draft or the MHL Entry Draft, this chapter is all about being the best version of himself. It’s about the present.
There’s no question Tommy Hendrickson can skate, defend and move the puck, it all came down to a numbers at the Major U-18 AAA level a season ago.
At that point Hendrickson and his family had a decision to make. They chose the U-16 AAA route and it’s definitely paid dividends for his development.
You see Hendrickson’s success story will undoubtedly help grow the integrity and validity of the U-16 AAA level which is definitely needed now more than ever.
More and more players that are coming up through the ranks of minor hockey need a solid developmental year in order to flourish when the time is right at the next level.
The Moncton Thunderbirds organization and every U-16 organization and league need to celebrate success stories like Tommy Hendrickson.
You see he’s not the only one.
Some scouts, naysayers or critics need to realize that the U-16 ranks are full of success stories just waiting to happen and that all these players need is the opportunity to develop and grow before moving forward and excelling.
Obviously, you can’t just snap your fingers and great things happen.
Tommy Hendrickson has worked incredibly hard on his game over the first half of the season and it shows.
The young transitional two and half zone defender is playing some of the best hockey of his life right now.
There’s always a transitional stage for any player stepping into the Major U-18 AAA ranks. Less is more for any young defender and once Hendrickson realized he had more time and space to make plays and relax with the puck his game completely changed. You could see his confidence grow with every passing shift.
There’s no question Hendrickson is gaining traction at the U-18 level and becoming one of the best skating puck moving rearguards in the circuit.
His journey in the game is a perfect example of “it shouldn’t matter where you played last year” to determine the success and upward mobility in the game.
Persistence and perseverance always pays off, especially when the player and person in question trusts the process and believes in their talents.
Tommy Hendrickson is a player to watch for a number of reasons, he’s not a late bloomer, he just needed a place to play and get extra reps. He always has had talent, he just need the opportunity to play and grow. That opportunity came at the U-16 AAA level. Hendrickson hasn’t let his non linear path or his age derail his hockey dreams and aspirations.
The road less travelled continues to pay dividends for Tommy Hendrickson.
We can all learn something from Hendrickson’s journey in the game, the finish line is no where in sight, because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.