Thursday, October 13, 2005

Huntsville-bound Train on winning track

By Matt Mackinder
Courtesy of USA Junior Hockey Magazine

If you would have asked him five years ago what he thought about playing eight years of his hockey career in the southern United States, Tom Train would have laughed at you and called you such words as “crazy” and “insane.”

Five years later, Train is laughing, but for different reasons.

A Troy, Mich., native, Train is back to captain the Texas Tornado for his fourth and final junior season and has a full, four-year ride waiting for him at Alabama-Huntsville starting in the fall of 2006.

“It’s true that five years ago if someone would have told me I’d be playing junior hockey in Texas, I would have said something like, ‘Oh yeah, right,’” Train said. “What’s funnier is there are a lot of kids on the team from Michigan, like Billy Skwarczewski who I played with on Belle Tire (Midget Minor), and most of them feel the same way.”

After Train finished that Midget Minor year back in 2000-01, he went over to Canada to play Junior B with the Leamington (Ontario) Flyers to gain experience playing with older guys.

Tornado coach-GM Tony Curtale also watched the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Train at Michigan-area Tornado tryout camps and knew one day he’d get Train to come down to the Lone Star State.

“He’s a great kid and he’s a leader,” said Curtale. “He’s very competitive and physical and I think the best defensive forward in the league.”

Wearing the ‘C’ hasn’t changed Train’s overall game at all. If anything, it’s made him realize his potential. Last year, he was tied for second in the NAHL with 33 goals and third on Texas with 69 points.

“I feel I’m the type of captain that leads by example, but also can be vocal,” said Train. “We have a young team this year and I’m talking a bit more now on and off the ice to show the younger kids the way.”

Train is also looking forward to Huntsville next fall. He had an offer the start their this season, but for one reason or another, decided to come back to the Tornado and try for a third straight NAHL crown.

Kind of ironic, too, that a two-time defending champion chugging full-speed ahead has a captain named Train.

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