February 2005
Blake Geoffrion booming up ranks
By: Katie Harp

There can be lots of pressures for children to carry on the family business, especially if their parents were professionals in their craft…. literally.

Even though he is only 16, Blake Geoffrion is looking to carry on the tradition that has implanted his family’s name in the game of hockey.

The Geoffrion name has been synonymous with the game of hockey for years.

"My great-grandfather played in the NHL. My grandfather is Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffion, and my dad played in the NHL.

"Boom Boom" is in the NHL Hall of Fame. He won six Stanley Cups in his 18 seasons in the NHL. All six were with the Montreal Canadiens. For two seasons, he also led the league in scoring.

"Boom Boom" was known to have quick speed when shooting the puck. Some hockey enthusiasts claim that he invented the slap shot.

Danny Geoffrion, Blake’s father, was the number eight overall draft pick by the Canadiens in the 1978 draft.

Blake knows all of this, and he is focused on achieving his goal.

With a determined look in his eye, Blake calmly states the task he knows is his to accomplish.

"I’m the next generation. I have got to make it. It is a lot of pressure," Blake said.

Blake is well on his way to following in the trail that earlier members of his family blazed for him.

He participates on the Under-17 National Team Development Program (NTDP). This program boasts of having the top players in the country and is also known by the name Under- 17 Team USA.

This team is based out of Ann Arbor, Mich. NTDP is composed of two 20-player teams, an Under 18 and an Under 17 team. These players compete against some of the best competition in the world in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).

"Obviously, it is a program a lot of successful guys have come out of. They teach you about becoming a good person off the ice and on the ice. They teach you how to work out properly and what you need to make an NHL player or get to the next level you’re your abilities take you to," Blake said.

The team travels to both Canada and Europe to compete.

The NTDP is very regimented, Kelly Geoffrion, Blake’s mom said.

 

The team members have access to almost everything the professional players have access to.

"They have two dentists, two doctors, media specialist, boxing coach, two trainers, a nutritionist and two teachers that help the boys out with whatever they need," Kelly said.

"They treat you like you are an elite athlete with all the supplies they give you. It prepares you for life. There are a lot of life lessons in it, Blake said.

 

The players for the NTDP must be self sufficient and focused on the game of hockey.

The weekend of Jan. 15 was only the second time Blake has been home since he started playing for the NTDP Aug 22. The other time, Blake was home for three days for Christmas.

"We are a team here. It’s not time to go and hang out with your parents or go see your girlfriend. We are here for one reason and that’s hockey," Blake said.

Parents are of players are also kept at a distance from the players.

"We go to see him play as much as we can. When they are at the high profile tournaments like the Under 17 World Championships in Left Bridge, Alberta this year, parents are even allowed to stay at the same hotel as the players because they want the boys to stay focused on the game," Kelly said.

Danny, Blake’s father, did make the journey to Left Bridge to watch his son play in the championships even though he could only see Blake during the day at the rink. However, he got the chance to be with Blake one day from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Blake considers it an honor to even be one of the 20 members of the team and believes he could not have gotten to the level he is at without his background at the Culver Military Academy.

The Culver Military Academy is known to have one of the top high school programs in the nation for hockey. Their Varsity A team has yet to have a losing season in the team’s 28 year existence.

"I wouldn’t have been able to make the national team without going through Culver. Coach Dan Davidge is a big reason why I made the team. Culver prepared me for the national team. In my eyes they are the reason I am where I am at today," Blake said.

Blake played two years at Culver. His freshman year he played Varsity B and seen a little playing time on Varsity A. His sophomore year, he made Varsity A.

While he was attending Culver, the team was ranked number two and number three among high school/midget teams in the country.

His brother, Sebastian is now also trying to follow in Blake’s footsteps as he is currently enrolled as a freshman at Culver.

Before Culver, Blake got his start in the Music City. Blake was taking lessons from a figure skating coach when he was just two-years-old. At three, he began playing hockey and worked his way up through the ranks of the Nashville Ice Tigers hockey organization.

When Blake is not on the ice with the NTDP team, the high school junior is in the classroom. Team members either attend one of two public schools in Ann Arbor.

"We have five class periods a day. We got to rink around 2 p.m. We are usually there from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. We have a two hour on ice session, usually an hour workout afterwards and then a meeting or something," Blake said.

In his time away from the rink, Blake is just a normal teenager who enjoys hanging out with his friends. He also enjoys playing baseball.

Blake has some big goals for the future.

"My goals are to make the World Junior Team, go to a top NCAA Division I college and hopefully the pros. The pros would kind of be like a bonus," Blake said.

Not only is Blake following the path set out by his family, but he is following a very similar path of Milwaukee Admiral Ryan Suter.

Suter also attended the Culver Military Academy before playing for the NTDP. He played college for the University of Wisconsin. Suter was the captain on the World Junior Team this year and was the first round draft pick for the Predators in last year’s draft.

 

 




 
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