Stampeders’ Hunt knows goaltending is no easy job
October 24, 2014
By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
The Swan Valley Stampeders had about the worst sort of luck last season with the health of their goaltenders, something which greatly impacted their ability to have any sort of stability between the pipes.
Heading into this season, the Stampeders will be looking to Graham Hunt to provide that stability and leadership, just as he did late last year when he joined the team when he posted a 4-4 record with a .3.65 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
“I’m really happy to be back here, and I’m looking forward to getting a lot of playing time this year,” said the native of Concord, Mass., which is located 25 minutes out of Boston.
To date, Hunt has been steady in the net, reflected in a 5-6 record after 12 games in the 2014-15 campaign.
Stampeders’ head coach and general manager Erik Petersen has been impressed so far this year.
“He had an excellent camp and established himself as our No. 1 goaltender without a doubt,” said Petersen. “He’s been absolutely outstanding, and he’s going to help us back there.”
Hunt, playing in his 19-year-old season, said he’s ready to be the go-to guy in goal for the Stampeders, especially after only getting into a handful of games in two leagues last year.
“When I was in Moncton (of the QMJHL) we had a really good starting goalie that was playing a lot of games,” he said. “While he was playing I was getting a lot of good goaltending coaching, but when I got the chance to play in some games (in Swan Valley) after Christmas, I made the decision to come out here.
“As nice as it was to get worked on in practice, I wanted to get some game action, so it worked out pretty well.”
Growing up in the shadow of one of hockey’s greatest markets, Hunt took an early shine to skating and hockey. And once he got a taste of goaltending, it became apparent he was going to be a goaltender.
“I was about seven years old when I first put on the pads, and I ended up playing really well and liked it,” he said. “I was also still playing out, but I ended up enjoying playing goaltending more and it just took off from there.”
In describing his play, Hunt said he tries to emulate some of the best goaltenders in the world.
“I try to model my game after Carey Price, and Corey Crawford a little bit,” he said. “I try not to drop on shots too early, and keep a calm composure in net and control the rebounds.”
While Hunt is not easily impressed, he’s confident the Stampeders will be competitive each game this season.
“We have got a lot of guys committed to having a successful season, and it seems like we have a lot of really good young players, as well as number of good returning players, and they’re all here to win,” he said.
Hunt said when his junior career is through, he’d like to land a spot at a CIS school, get an education and some more playing time, and potentially a professional career after that.
“If I could play pro that would be awesome, but if not, I’ll find another career,” he said.
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