Jacob Steinman is about as quiet of a kid as you will ever meet. Under the quiet calm demeanor lives a fiercely confident and competitive netminder who wants to the best in the QMJHL.
Behind the mask and in the crease, the pressure is always immense. As the temperature rose and the spotlight shone even brighter Jacob Steinman seemingly became more relaxed with unparalleled focus. The rookie free agent netminder may have been well known in the Jr A circles in Ontario, but he was untested and a relative unknown when he arrived in the Hub City in August.
Photo Credit Daniel St Louis
There’s no question the entire circuit knows exactly who is now.
It’s cliché, but all some players need especially goaltenders is an opportunity and people who believe in their ability. Jacob Steinman took full advantage of the opportunity he was given with the Moncton Wildcats.
“I was lucky enough last year to get a call from Moncton, but definitely at the start I didn’t know where I was going to be, but in the end run I guessed it worked out pretty good,” he said when asked if ever thought he would get the opportunity to play in the QMJHL.
“I definitely knew if I worked hard and if I pursued my dream to play at the highest level possible, I knew something would come up,” Steinman said the day before being named to QMJHL’s all rookie All-Star team.
Ultra confident, but incredibly grounded and humble that’s Jacob Steinman.
Having tremendous success and becoming a pillar of consistency in his first foray in the QMJHL isn’t lost on the 18-year-old netminder from Cambridge, Ontario. There’s no question Steinman has earned all of the personal accolades and success this season.
How big was the jump from Tier II Junior hockey to the QMJHL and was it all in the mind?
“It’s definitely a bigger jump, guys are more fit, smarter and faster. There was a little adjusting to get used to, but I wouldn’t say there’s too much difference in how hard the shots are, but how precise the plays are and the passing.”
“The execution is just way higher in the QMJHL, so I had to get used to that at the start, but I ended up adapting quick enough, but the team did a really good job in training camp getting me prepared so I could adapt to all of the players and speed of the game.”
Steinman’s ascension to a bonafide number one and star netminder in the QMJHL didn’t come without a tremendous amount of sacrifice and support. His success to some may seem surprising, but not to his family and former teammates that were there every step of way.
“I would definitely say my entire family, my mom, dad and sister have had the biggest impact on getting me to this point in my career, especially my mom,” Steinman said proudly.
“My mom definitely put in a lot of hours with me in the off season training wise and really getting my body right. She has played a really big part in my career moving forward, she was always there, driving me to practice, same with my dad and sister, they have been so supportive all throughout my career.”
“I feel like they all have made me stronger both physically and mentally, I’m really grateful to have them in my life.”
Two goalie coaches or gurus also played a critical role in Steinman’s overall growth and development.
“I’ve had a number of goalie coaches over the years, Vinny Merante and Rocco Trentadue have definitely played a big role in my career. They really shaped who I am as a goalie and a man.”
“They do really great things and they are really easy to talk to and get to know. They have played a big role in my success here in Moncton.”
Steinman’s efforts between the pipes have certainly caught the eyes of some NHL scouts even though his stature might not exactly fit the “NHL goalie framework.” How is Steinman going to approach the draft and his sophomore season with the Wildcats?
“For the offseason, I think everyone wants to get bigger, stronger and faster. I have to make sure I’m really prepared for next season, I just don’t want to be sticking around, I want to be the best in the league and show who I really am, because I feel I’ve only scratched the surface.”
“I feel like I’m going to come back bigger, stronger and faster, and as far as the exposure, it’s great. It is the first time I’ve seen or experienced this kind of stuff where so much is exposed at the highest level.”
“All of the scouts and people have been really supportive. I’ve spoken to a couple of NHL teams and scouts, I’ve really tried to pick their brain to see what it’s like, they really have been supportive and they have done a really great job for the junior players.”
Steinman doesn’t hesitate to provide advice for up-and-coming netminders that might not fit the preconceived mold or stature of a prototypical netminder. “Personally, I would tell them or say that it doesn’t matter.”
“If you can stop the puck, you should get a job and opportunity to play,” stressed Steinman.
“At the end of the day it’s not about who can just fill up the net the biggest, it’s who can stop the puck and play the game the right way. If you can do that, I feel you should get a fair shot and to keep pushing because the dream is never dead.”
“Personally, I thought my dream was dead, I ended up picking up a new life, which is honestly fabulous. For those people that maybe shorter goalies or whatever, it’s never over, keep pushing, at the end run, I feel like shorter goalies will become the way within the game and that people will realize better that they are, but we shall see.
Jacob Steinman is aiming high when it comes to his future trajectory in the game. Some players and netminders belong and feel at ease in the spotlight, the constant attention and pressure has never derailed his passion, love and competitive spirit for the game and position, if anything it continues to fuel his journey.
Steinman’s story undoubtedly provides inspiration but is also a great reminder for any young player especially when it comes to netminders to aim high on their dreams and to never forget the value of hard work, drive, persistence and unwavering confidence.