This update on Minnesota Duluth recruit Max Tardy of Duluth, provided by Todd Gottula, communications for the Tri-City Storm of the U.S. Hockey League in Kearney, Neb.
By TODD GOTTULA, Tri-City Storm Communications Director
KEARNEY, Neb. – Forgive Max Tardy for not buying into the hype of the United States Hockey League, specifically the suggestion that first-year players can’t be playmakers.
"I don’t necessarily see myself as always being the go-to guy, but I’m always out there looking to score and make things happen," says the Tri-City Storm forward. "I expect that of myself every night out."
Through 14 games, Tardy is seventh on the team with 8 points, including 5 goals. After a fast start that included 7 points in the Storm’s first nine games, the 6-foot, 180-pound native of Duluth, has scored just one assist in the Storm’s last six games.
"The game is so much faster at this level than high school. You have to make quick decisions and be more prepared mentally and physically," Tardy says. "It’s taken me some time to learn what works and doesn’t work."
Tardy came to the Storm following a storied prep career at Duluth East High School, where he scored 28 goals and 48 points his senior season on his way to being named a finalist for the 2009 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award. He was also named the 2009 Duluth News Tribune Player of the Year.
"In high school, I was a playmaker. I went out there every game with the expectation of being the guy who would make things happen," says Tardy.
Despite being a first-year player in the USHL, Tardy says his role with the Storm is similar to his high school playing days. "I have to bring a strong work ethic and good effort every game, and that includes doing all the little things," he says. "Beyond that, I’m someone who has to contribute on the scoreboard."
Tardy has already committed to play his college hockey at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, and he was a seventh round selection by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2009 Entry Draft.
Storm head coach Drew Schoneck says he would like to see Tardy work at being more consistent.
"We are going to count on him for offense because he’s a competitive guy who can skate and put the puck in the net,” Schoneck says.
"He’s already proven that he’s up to the challenge of playing in this league. At the same time, I want to see increased intensity and consistency from him," adds Schoneck. "He can’t be great one night and just okay the next."
Tardy said he’s working at becoming a more complete player by developing his skills on defense.
"As you move up levels and play against stronger competition, you have to focus more on being a good player on both sides of the puck," he says. "I know I have to get better defensively. I know what is expected of me, and I’m excited about this season and doing what I can to help the team have success."